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CJI Dipak Misra should recuse himself from judicial work until allegations are cleared, says Congress

Congress said that the Chief Justice of India should be above suspicion and that if CJI Misra’s conduct had come under a cloud, he should recuse himself from judicial and administrative duties.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2018 23:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CJI impeachment,Chief Justice of India,Congress
Congress also attacked the BJP for coming out in “defence” of the CJI and said the ruling party was compromising the position and office of the chief justice as the neutral arbitrator and head of the judiciary.(PTI)

The Congress on Sunday appealed to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra to “voluntarily” recuse himself from judicial and administrative work, saying he should decide “whether to work as a judge or not after aspersions were cast” against him in the notice for a motion for his removal sent to the Rajya Sabha by seven political parties led by the Congress.

The main opposition party also said it hoped that Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu will decide on accepting the motion in “seriousness” and as per the Constitution. A senior Congress leader, who asked not to be named, said the party was planning to move the Supreme Court for a judicial review if the motion was rejected by Naidu.

“He (Misra) is the Chief Justice of India. He should voluntarily submit himself for a probe. The allegations against him are in fact allegations against the nation. If these allegations are true, the law will take its own course and if false the facts should come before the public. That is why we are appealing to his conscience to voluntarily recuse himself from work,” senior Congress leader Vivek Tankha said.

“Till the time there is further action on the motion, he needs to think himself how he should participate in the court,”Tankha told a news conference.

“The office of the CJI is very big, and involves trust and responsibility. Till the time the trust is restored, he needs to think whether he should work as a judge or not work as a judge,” he added.

Read | Facing removal notice, it’s business as usual for Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra

The press conference was also addressed by Congress leader Amee Yajnik and nominated Rajya Sabha member KTS Tulsi.

This is the first such notice ever presented against a CJI. The notice was signed by 71 MPs, although seven of them have retired from the Upper House since signing it.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said after the notice that the Congress and “its friends have started using impeachment as a political tool”.

The CJI hasn’t publicly responded to the notice. According to the list released by the Supreme Court’s registry on Saturday, it’s going to be business as usual for the CJI this week. He is expected to continue hearing the Aadhaar case, a petition seeking a transfer of the case of gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua to Chandigarh, and a plea seeking the constitution of a larger bench for the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute.

Yajnik on Sunday asked the CJI to “take a decision in the interest of the nation, its people and the judicial system” while Tulsi dismissed the contention that a press conference by leaders of the Congress and other parties on Friday, making public their charges against the CJI, was in violation of the provisions of handbook for members of the Rajya Sabha.

“There is no rule of procedure in Parliament that restricts the right to discuss the motion of impeachment after it has been presented to the Rajya Sabha chairperson. The Rajya Sabha rules do not have any such restrictions,” Tulsi said. He cited an instance of the impeachment motion for removal of Karnataka High Court chief Justice PD Dinakaran in December 2009, when the then leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury addressed the media after submitting the notice to the then Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari.

“It is erroneous to believe that there is a breach of any rule or any etiquette. The matter is so serious that it was necessary for us to bring the truth before the people. People have the right to know and we have a duty to disclose and accurately place the facts before the nation through media,” Tulsi said.

First Published: Apr 22, 2018 18:28 IST