Congress challenges rejection of Impeachment Move against CJI

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Recently, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had rejected a notice of impeachment motion against CJI Misra moved by Opposition parties led by the Congress.

At court No. 2 Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge of the Supreme Court said that the master of the roster (the chief justice) has the authority to allot a matter.

"The chairman has no option but to set up the inquiry committee against the CJI once the notice for removal motion was signed by the requisite number of MPs, which in case of RS is 50", said the petition, which was settled by Sibal and filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes.

The reason Sibal mentioned the case before Chelameswar's bench was made clear by Sibal himself, who told the court that since the case relates to CJI Misra, he couldn't mention it before the CJI to demand a date of hearing.

The bench comprising Justices AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice Arun Mishra, and Justice Adarsh Kumsar Goel will hear the matter as a first item at 10.30 am.

"I am of the view that it is imperative that we should have extraordinary, important and substantial grounds for the removal of a judge", he said.

Subsequently, Congress submitted a removal motion against the CJI in Rajya Sabha while the government said the move was meant to intimidate the judiciary.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal presented the petition before the Supreme Court on behalf of Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik, adding that he can not mention it before the CJI to demand a date of hearing.

A five-judge constitution bench was today constituted in the Supreme Court to hear the petition moved by the two Congress MPs tomorrow.

A solution has now been found by handing the case to a bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, the sixth senior-most judge.

Advancing his arguments, Sibal said "I am aware of the procedure but it can't be mentioned anywhere else". These included the assigning of sensitive cases to handpicked Judges, which was raised publicly in January by four top Judges who accused the CJI of abusing his position as "master of the roster".

Sub-Section 1 of Section 3 of the Judges Inquiry Act says: "The Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman may, after consulting such persons, if any, as he thinks fit and after considering such materials, if any, as may be available to him, either admit the motion or refuse to admit the same".

It was also stated that if Naidu's order were to be accepted as legally correct, it would be tantamount to having a two- stage adjudicatory process with regard to a notice of motion filed under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968. They also sought a direction to Naidu to constitute a committee to probe the charges listed against Misra in the impeachment notice.

Naidu had said that the notice lacked merit.

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