Congress parliamentarians withdrew their plea in the Supreme Court that challenged the rejection of the impeachment notice against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
The petitioners said they won’t argue the matter till there’s clarity on whose directions the Constitution Bench was set up. They wanted a copy of the administrative order on the basis of which the case was listed before the five-judge bench.
“We do not contest the power of the master of the roster but is it subject to any discipline? Is it subject to any guidelines?” Kapil Sibal, who represented the two Congress parliamentarians, said in the court. “Today we want to start the dialogue.”
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for Naidu, said while 64 MPs moved the petition, only two have come to court. “It means others do not have a problem with the order of the Rajya Sabha Chairman.”
To this, Sibal replied: “I can bring all 60 MPs here to satisfy you.”
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The Constitution Bench was headed by Justice AK Sikri and included Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice AK Goel and Justice Arun Mishra. According to information on the apex court’s website, the matter was not listed before the judges who rank between two to five in seniority. These judges – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph – had earlier held a controversial press conference in January to express grievances against CJI Misra.
On April 20, seven opposition parties led by the Congress had met Naidu and submitted the motion seeking initiation of impeachment proceedings against the CJI. The letter was signed by over 60 sitting Rajya Sabha members.
Later that day, the parties had held a press conference detailing the five basis for initiating the impeachment motion.
Naidu, who is also chairman of the Rajya Sabha, rejected the motion saying that it did not meet the criteria of “proven misconduct” which is needed to begin the impeachment proceedings.
The Congress party had then said that the rejection was illegal and they will approach the court against the decision.