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Manmohan, Chidambaram deliberately not involved in CJI removal process: Congress

The Congress was responding to a suggestion that Singh was not enthusiastic about the move and had therefore not signed the notice submitted on Friday to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2018 07:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dipak Misra,Chief Justice of India,Congress
Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, D. Raja (MP Rajya Sabha), K. T. S. Tulsi (MP Rajya Sabha) and others address the media after an all party meet at Constitution Club, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, April 20, 2018. (Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The Congress on Friday said Manmohan Singh had not been involved in drafting the notice of motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra because of his stature as a former PM and former finance minister P Chidambaram was kept away because of cases pending against his son Karti.The party dismissed as “absolutely false” reports that the party was divided on the issue.

The Congress was responding to a suggestion that Singh was not enthusiastic about the move and had therefore not signed the notice submitted on Friday to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

“They (such reports) are absolutely false. They are not true. It is not a small issue. It is not instant coffee. It is about Constitution and a matter of institution. We did not want to involve him because he is a former PM,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.

Another senior Congress leader familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity that Chidambaram was “deliberately kept away” because of the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases pending against Karti. Asked why other opposition parties had not signed the notice, Sibal said that “there is consensus” among all parties.

Party leaders said there was initially a divide within the Congress on the issue. One section believed that the motion was necessary in the wake of the comments made by four top Supreme Court judges on January 12 about the CJI’s exercise of power as master of the roster and it would serve as a “deterrent”. But another section argued that moving such a motion may portray the Congress as “anti-judiciary” and would yield little since the party did not have the numbers to see it through in any case, said the Congress leader quoted above.

One voice of caution in the party was that of former law minister Salman Khurshid. “Impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with frivolously on the grounds of disagreement with any judgement or point of view of the court,” he said. But Khurshid, who is not an MP, was quick to add: “I’m not a party or privy to discussions that took place between different parties and for me to reflect specifically on whether the grounds are justified will be unfair.”

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 07:28 IST