Govt defends Naidu's decision on impeachment

Venkaiah Naidu rejects impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra

Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the Congress-led Opposition's impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, saying the allegations were neither "tenable nor admissible". "I don't see chances of the writ petition (challenging the VP's decision) succeeding". 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.

A former Law Minister in Manmohan Singh government Ashwani Kumar said the move will be "counter-productive" and maintained that the remedy need not be worse than the malady itself.

The Congress is likely to move the Supreme Court against the order of the Rajya Sabha chairman in the matter, party sources said. Remember as MPs it is our privilege to move the motion.

Sibal told the press that rejection of the motion was unprecedented because never has a motion, which has been signed by more than the required number of MPs in the Rajya Sabha, been dismissed like this in its preliminary stage.

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Leaders of the Congress party and six other parties presented a notice to the chairman of Parliament's Upper House seeking an inquiry into Chief Justice Deepak Misra's conduct, to be followed by a vote on impeachment.

"In passing, I am constrained to observe that in this matter, the well established parliamentary customs and conventions as have been delineated in para 2.2 of the Handbook for Members of Rajya Sabha have been disregarded", Naidu said. He has consulted legal experts and has come to a decision. And Congress must not make the foolish mistake of moving the Supreme Court on this, thinking it can take advantage of alleged divisions in the collegium.

Naidu said, "I have applied my mind to all five charges made out in Impeachment Motion and examined all annexed documents".

The order, which said that the Notice of Motion does not deserve to be admitted, also drew a mixed response among the legal fraternity. The two Petitions had been filed demanding an independent probe into allegations of corruption in the higher judiciary. The grounds raised in the impeachment notice are not of sufficient gravity.

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Justice Dhingra, too, supported Naidu's order on impeachment and said, "Rejection was absolutely right and based on facts".

Apart from this, Naidu also held deliberations with senior officials of the Rajya Sabha.

The prescribed process for an impeachment motion involves the establishment of an inquiry committee by the chairman to establish "if there is a fit case for removal of a judge".

Justice Chelameswar is one of the four judges, who had held a press conference in January on the problems facing the Supreme Court, chief among which was the CJI's functioning as master of the roster. He said that the party is going to accept whatever decision the court takes.

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