Congress MPs move Supreme Court against Naidu’s rejection of motion to remove Chief Justice
Two Congress MPs argue that the Rajya Sabha chairman has no option but to constitute a committee to look into the charges once a removal motion signed by MPs is submitted to him.Updated: May 07, 2018 17:52 IST
Two Congress Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging vice president Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of an opposition motion seeking the removal of the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.
The petitioners, Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Yagnik, in their plea argued that once a removal motion signed by MPs is submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman, he has no option but to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the charges.
The Congress and six other opposition parties last month moved a notice for the removal of Chief Justice Dipak Misra alleging five grounds of “misbehaviour”. However, Naidu rejected the notice holding that the allegations lacked merit.
On April 23, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had termed Naidu’s order as “unprecedented, illegal, ill-advised and hasty” and asserted that the party will challenge it in the Supreme Court.
He had also hoped that the Chief Justice would have “nothing to do” with the petition when it would come up for listing in the court. As the master of the roster, it is the chief justice who assigns cases.
- MPs who presented the motion are themselves unsure of the charges, as they use words like, ‘may have been’, ‘likely’, ‘appears to be’ and it does not constitute proof against the CJI
- The allegations have serious tendency of undermining the independence of the judiciary
- There is no concrete verifiable imputation against the CJI
- No credible or verifiable information giving indication of ‘misbehaviour’ or ‘incapacity’ is made in the charges against the CJI
- By going to the press, established parliamentary customs and conventions were disregarded by the MPs who brought the motion
The rejection of the notice had a precedent nearly five decades ago when a Supreme Court judge faced such a bid for the first time.
An impeachment motion against Justice JC Shah was submitted to Lok Sabha speaker GS Dhillon in May 1970 following a campaign by a former government servant, OP Gupta, charging Shah with dishonesty after the judge made certain remarks about him during a hearing. The notice was, however, turned down by the Speaker after stating it as “frivolous”.
Besides rejection of such notice against CJI Misra and Justice Shah at the preliminary stage, there was another such case when 58 Rajya Sabha MPs had moved a petition before the Chairman and former Vice-President Hamid Ansari against Gujarat High Court judge Justice J B Pardiwala in 2015 for his alleged “unconstitutional” remarks against reservation.
Facing the possibility of an impeachment motion against him, Justice Pardiwala expunged the remarks he had made against reservation in the Hardik Patel case order on an application by the state government seeking removal of the controversial portion.
Later, no effort was made to take forward the notice of impeachment against Pardiwala.