5-judge SC bench to hear petition for CJI impeachment on Tuesday

Angelica Greene
May 8, 2018

Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu had April 23 rejected the notice, given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment of the CJI.

"The impugned order, in a "cavalier, cryptic and abrupt manner", shockingly holds that none of the other charges are made out without disclosing as to on what basis was this finding returned", the petition said.

The petition filed by two Members of Parliament, Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Yajnik, was mentioned before Justice Jasti Chelameswar today by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Prashant Bhushan.

The petitioners' counsel had earlier on Monday argued in Chelameswar's court that the CJI could not be involved in either the listing or hearing of the matter, and the procedure in such a situation was that the case would have to be dealt with by the second senior-most judge in the court.

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. Justices Bobde and also Ramana are equally in line for Chief Justice. From the reports which are in public domain, the Hon'ble Chairman was not in New Delhi for a good part of the weekend of 21st and 22nd April, 2018. Just Ice Sikri, who will venture to the seat, is number six in seniority.

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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.

In their joint petition, the MPs said that once a removal motion is signed by the requisite number of MPs the RS chairman has no option but to constitute an inquiry committee to investigate the charges.

Advocate Bhushan, who appeared along with Sibal, said according to rules, the CJI is disabled to pass any order and only the senior-most judge can decide on the listing of the petition. A person can not be a judge in his own cause. This was the first time that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI.

It also said the reasons given by Naidu while rejecting the impeachment notice were "not legally tenable" and deserved to be set aside for being "wholly extraneous" and ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution and the Inquiry Act. 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.

Other reports by GizPress

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