Venkaiah Naidu's decision illegal, ill-advised, claims Congress

Frederick Owens
April 24, 2018

"That motion has to be dealt with by the chairman not in his judicial or quasi-judicial capacity; he has to see whether the motion is in order or not have 50 members signed it or not, are their signatures genuine or not genuine".

"I am also aware that it is imperative that we should have extraordinary, important and substantial grounds for the removal of a judge", said Naidu, who held legal consultations on Sunday. "Based on all this, I have come to the conclusion that this motion does not deserve to be admitted", the VP said in his order.

"Whether it is the chief ministers of different states, whether it is the offices of the ministers, whether it is the courts, all of them are being filled by people from the RSS with one ideology" which, he said, runs counter to the Constitution. Some of the allegations relate to what is happening in court.

Picking up on the usage of in-definitive phrases like "may have been involved in a conspiracy", "he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation", "appears to have anti-dated and administrative order", Naidu argued that they indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption. "The prefix "proved" places an obligation of actually proving the misbehaviour before the parliamentary procedure for removal of a judge can come into play", he said.

"Proved misbehaviour comes after the inquiry".

Describing Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's rejection of the Opposition notice seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as "illegal", "unconstitutional" and "hasty", the Congress Monday said MPs who had signed the notice would challenge the order in the Supreme Court. The Supreme court is being crushed, it is being suppressed.

"Clearly, this is an internal matter to be resolved by the Supreme Court itself".

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The Supreme Court said it was also salutary that before admitting the motion to remove a judge there shall exist factual foundation. Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the RS Chairman can not act as a quasi-judicial authority.

Referring to the Chairman's contention that the charges made in the petition do not constitute proved misbehaviour under Article 124 (4), he said it was for the inquiry committee to decide whether the charges are proved or not. "I will not get into the reasons (which everybody knows) but I will say that this is a part of a larger trend to demonize and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and not kowtow to the dynasty", he said.

He said the Constitution was meant to nurture an independent judiciary. So far, no judge has been impeached in India, though proceedings have been initiated against some in the past. Sibal asked. He said the order was ill-advised because the chairman is required to consult the CJI, and as it can't be done in this case because the charges are against the CJI, the chairman was required to consult the members of the collegium.

Among those present were the four senior-most judges after Justice Misra - Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph - whose allegation about the Chief Justice allocating key cases to favoured benches was one of the reasons behind the Opposition's impeachment notice.

New Delhi: Eminent jurist Fali S Nariman Monday said the issues raised in the impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra were not of "sufficient gravity and rightly rejected" by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy hailed Naidu's decision of rejecting the impeachment notice. The notice was moved by the Congress and seven other opposition parties against the CJI last week.

Reacting to the developments, Amit Shah said in a Facebook post that right now the buzzword for the Congress and their friends was "impeachment".

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