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Congress MPs move Supreme Court over impeachment of CJI Dipak Misra

Cong goes to SC, challenging Naidu's rejection of CJI impeachment petition,…

The Congress has challenged in the Supreme Court the rejection of its Impeachment Move against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Naidu had on April 23 rejected the impeachment notice given by seven opposition parties led by the Congress on five grounds of "misbehaviour".

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was one of the signatories to remove the CJI in the Rajya Sabha, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge after Misra.

Abuse of exercise of power by the Chief Justice in choosing to send sensitive matters to particular benches by misusing his authority as Master of the Roster with the likely intent to influence the outcome.

The judges who will hear the Congress's plea are Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel.

Besides challenging the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairperson, the petition filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes also assails Section 3 (1) of the Judges Inquiry Act insofar as it vests discretion with the Rajya Sabha Chairperson to reject a notice of motion for removal.

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

Justice Chelameswar asked Sibal to appear before him at 10.30am Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear as to who has constituted the bench and assigned the matter to it.

The plea by two Rajya Sabha members - Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik - was included in the supplementary list issued by the top court's Registry on Monday evening.

Advancing his arguments, Sibal said "I am aware of the procedure but it can't be mentioned anywhere else".

He also said that the Parliament was supreme in its own jurisdiction and its process can not be subjected to judicial review and "impeachment" motion was filed on untenable grounds for a collateral objective to intimidate the CJI and other judges.

The CJI allegedly listed the petition against the Prasad Education Trust before himself, even when he was heading the Constitution bench, which is against the convention.

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.

"The manner in which the Vice-President rejected the notice for impeachment raises serious constitutional issues".

Naidu had said that the notice lacked merit. Moreover, Sibal contended that whether or not there exists evidence to make out a prima facie case is not the job of the Chairman but that of an Inquiry Committee that goes into each allegation.