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2 Congress RS MPs move SC challenging Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of removal motion against Chief Justice | India News

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NEW DELHI: Two Rajya Sabha (RS) Congress party Members of Parliament (MPs) today moved the Supreme Court challenging the Rajya Sabha chair Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the removal motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

They challenged the decision, they said, because the removal motion was signed by more than 50 MPs, which is what is constitutionally required, and yet Naidu rejected it.

The petitioner MPs – Pratap Singh Bajwa from Punjab and Amee Harshadray Yajnik from Gujarat – in their joint petition 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 against the CJI.

The petitioners also doubted the consultation process undertaken by the RS chairman saying the notice of the motion was given on April 20 and it was rejected on April 23, during which period Naidu was mostly outside Delhi on vice-presidential engagements.

Then petitioners sought a direction from the SC to the RS chairman to immediately constitute an inquiry committee under the Judges Inquiry Act to probe the charges against CJI mentioned in the removal motion.

Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan mentioned the petition by Congress MPs challenging rejection of removal motion against the CJI before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, who had led the ‘rebel’ press conference against the CJI on
January 12.

While Justice Chelameswar initially showed reluctance, Sibal and Bhushan insisted that since the CJI as master of roster is disqualified from hearing a petition on removal of CJI, it has to be heard and decided by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar. Sibal said he is not asking for any interim order but seeking listing of the petition before an appropriate bench. The bench of Justice J Chelameswar and S K Kaul said it will pass orders on listing
on Tuesday morning.

On April 20, as many as 64 MPs belonging to seven political parties signed the notice for removal proceedings against the CJI. They include MPs from the Congress, the NCP, CPM, the CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Muslim League. They mentioned five grounds for his removal:

1.”Conspiracy to pay illegal gratification” in the Prasad Education Trust case and the denial of permission to proceed against a retired high court judge in the same matter.

2. 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.

3. “Antedating” (backdating) of an order for listing of a petition related to the investigation against the Prasad Education Trust in the Supreme Court.

4. Misra allegedly acquired a piece of land by giving a “false affidavit” while he was an advocate. The plot was surrendered in 2012 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court, even though orders cancelling the allotment were given in 1985.

5. 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.

On April 23, Naidu rejected the Congress-led
opposition parties’ notice to remove the CJI saying it lacked substantial merit.

“Having considered the material contained in the notice of motion and reflected upon the inputs received in my interaction with legal luminaries and constitutional experts, I am of the firm opinion that the notice of the motion does not deserve to be admitted. Accordingly I refuse to admit notice of motion,” said Naidu.

“I have applied my mind to all five charges made out in impeachment motion and examined all annexed documents. All facts as stated in motion don’t make out a case which can lead any reasonable mind to conclude that CJI on these facts can be ever held guilty of misbehavior,” said Naidu further.

Updated: May 7, 2018 — 5:08 am

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