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Congress criticises Venkaiah Naidu’s move to reject notice seeking CJI removal

The Congress claimed Venkaiah Naidu cannot decide on the merits of the notice for CJI’s impeachment in absence of a quasi-judicial or administrative power.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2018 12:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Dipak Misra,Impeachment,CJI Dipak Misra impeachment
Opposition leaders speak to the media personnel during a press conference after seven parties led by the Congress submitted to vice president and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu a notice seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, on Friday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Rajya Sabha chairperson and vice president M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the notice seeking the removal of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has triggered a battle between forces “rejecting” and “rescuing” democracy, the Congress party said on Monday.

“RS chairman can’t adjudge the motion, for he has no mandate to decide the merits of the motion,” Congress’ spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

The Congress leader also said Naidu cannot decide on the merits in absence of a quasi-judicial or administrative power.

“If all charges were to be proved before inquiry as RS Chairman suggests, Constitution & Judges (Inquiry) Act will have no relevance,” Surjewala said.

He also linked the decision to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s critique of the notice.

“Within hours of 64 MP’s submitting the impeachment motion, Leader of Rajya Sabha(FM) had expressed naked prejudice by calling it a ‘revenge petition’ virtually dictating the verdict to Rajya Sabha Chairman on that day. Has ‘Revenge Petition’ now become ‘Rescue Order’?”

The opposition party indicated on Sunday that if the notice was rejected, the party would go to court. It is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday afternoon to outline its next steps.

The Congress and six other opposition parties on Friday submitted the notice for the removal of CJI Misra on five grounds of “misbehaviour,” the first time in the history of India that such a motion has been initiated against the country’s top judge.

The move against stirred a massive controversy as the Congress accused the CJI of “misbehaviour” and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said the main opposition party was politicising the issue.

Jaitley accused it of trivialising the power of impeachment and using it as a political tool.

The senior BJP leader said last Friday that the move was an attempt to “intimidate” a judge and send a message to other judges, “that if you don’t agree with us, fifty MP’s are enough for a revenge action” in a scathing Facebook post.

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 12:33 IST