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

Congress MPs move SC against dismissal of impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra | PTI

Naidu earlier consulted legal experts on whether the opposition's notice for impeachment of Misra will be accepted or rejected.

The petition is the Congress, that claims Mr Naidu's conclusion was "unlawful and arbitrary" and shot into a "cavalier, cryptic and abrupt manner", with out a question.

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.

Allegations against Misra include involvement in a conspiracy to pay bribes in relation to a medical admission scam, dealing with a case in which he was likely to fall under the scope of an investigation, antedating an administrative order and abuse of administrative power in allocating cases in the Supreme Court. These judges - Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M.B. Lokur and Kurian Jospeh - had held the controversial January 12 press conference in which they talked about the issues plaguing the apex court, triggered by issues surrounding a case on the death of special CBI Judge B.H. Loya and the roster of justices at the Supreme Court. The other members are justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and A K Goel, who are next in the sequence of seniority.

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.

The petition was moved by Congress MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajni. I have practised in this court for the last 45 years and the procedure is that whenever there is a petition against the CJI, it is mentioned before the bench headed by the seniormost SC judge.

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.

"You come back to us tomorrow at 10.30am", Justice Chelameswar told Sibal.

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. Also, it is the first time ever a removal motion was moved against a CJI that came to be dismissed. "This is the job of the Inquiry Committee", the petitioners contended.

It sought setting aside of the chairman's order terming the charges contained in the notice of motion are "extremely serious" and merit "a full-fledged inquiry to test their veracity".

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