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Rediff.com  » News » Congress to move SC against Naidu's decision to reject impeachment notice

Congress to move SC against Naidu's decision to reject impeachment notice

Last updated on: April 23, 2018 23:54 IST

Criticising the decision, the party also said it was a fight between forces 'rejecting democracy' and voices 'rescuing democracy'. 

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at the valedictory function of the National Law Day celebrations in New Delhi on November 26, 2017. Photograph: PIB

The Congress on Monday lashed out at Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu for rejecting an impeachment notice filed by opposition parties against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and said it would move the Supreme Court to challenge the 'illegal order' which had 'shattered' the confidence of the people.

 

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters in New Delhi that Naidu's order jeopardised the country's legal system and said the government was not keen to see a probe into the case.

Criticising the decision, the party also said it was a fight between forces 'rejecting democracy' and voices 'rescuing democracy'.

"To say the least, the order is unprecedented, illegal, ill-advised and hasty," Sibal said, adding that it had been passed without a full-fledged enquiry.

"We will certainly move a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge this order," Sibal asserted.

Describing Naidu's move as "unprecedented", the Congress leader stressed that 'never before in India's history' had a motion moved by MPs been dismissed at the preliminary stage.

"It is illegal because the chairman has passed an order which is required to be passed after a full-fledged inquiry," Sibal said, adding that the Rajya Sabha chairman had to only ascertain whether the motion was in order.

To substantiate his argument, Sibal said that once the motion is admitted, then the under the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968, the motion is sent to a panel of three –- a sitting chief justice of a high court, a judge of the Supreme Court and a legal luminary, and added that did not happen in this case.

He also termed the upper house chairman's decision as 'ill-advised', saying that he should have consulted the judges in the collegium taking a call on the privilege motion.

"It is ill-advised because the procedure requires him to consult CJI before he admits the motion. Now that he cannot consult CJI obviously (in this case), he should have consulted other members of the collegium. But he has chosen not to do that," Sibal said.

He further said some of the allegations mentioned in the motion relate to what is happening in court, so Naidu should have consulted other judges.

He wondered what the hurry was to reject the motion which had the valid signatures of 64 MPs.

"I do not think momentous matters like this should be disposed of in this fashion. Remember, it is our privilege to move the motion. You cannot boot the privilege in this fashion," he said.

The order had shattered the confidence of the people and jeopardised the legal system, he added.

"It seems that the government is very keen that this (charge made in the petition) must not be allowed to be inquired into. Maybe they have information that the CBI has information, maybe by scuttling the inquiry they don't want a lot of information to come on record. It puts the judicial system into jeopardy," he said.

The order destroys the legitimate processes of the law. It seeks to ensure that no inquiry takes place, he added.

"We will certainly move the petition in the Supreme Court. We are confident that when we move the petition, the CJI will have nothing to do with it so that it is heard and the serious issues, which are constitutional in nature and which will determine whether we bring transparency to the system, would be heard in the court,” Sibal said.

Earlier in the day, All India Congress Committee media-in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala criticised the decision and said it was a fight between forces 'rejecting democracy' and voices 'rescuing democracy'.

Surjewala said within hours of 64 MPs submitting the impeachment notice, Leader of the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had shown 'naked prejudice' by calling it a revenge petition, 'virtually dictating the verdict' to the Rajya Sabha chairman.

Surjewala also recalled how Jaitley had on August 17, 2011 in his then capacity as the Opposition Leader in Rajya Sabha stressed that those occupying high offices must live through the scrutiny of highest standards of probity as the latter spoke on a motion to impeach Calcutta high court judge Soumitra Sen.

"Would Jaitley adhere to Jaitley?" asked the Congress leader.

The Rajya Sabha had in 2011 passed an impeachment motion against Justice Sen. But, before the motion could be placed in the Lok Sabha, Sen resigned.

In a tweet, Congress spokesperson and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Naidu 'expectedly' rejected the impeachment motion and that too within a day of his return to Delhi.

Taking to the microblogging site, another party leader Vivek Tankha said Naidu's order was an 'anticipated shocker'.

"It decided the admission of motion on merits without the 2nd stage inquiry. Merits a challenge before SC. Will force greater transparency & public interest reform," Tankha added.

Naidu earlier today turned down the impeachment notice given by the Congress and six other opposition parties against CJI Misra, saying it lacked substantial merit and that the allegations were neither 'tenable nor admissible'.

The other parties were the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Indian Union Muslim League.

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