In a significant move on Tuesday, the Congress party, withdrew their petition on the impeachment move against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, rejected recently by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
The petitioners, two Congress lawmakers, questioned the decision to assign the case to a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court.
Representing them, senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal said the case was listed before the constitution bench through an administrative order and the Chief Justice “can’t pass such orders” as it was conflict of interest. Mr Sibal questioned who had passed the order.
“It is grossly illegal, grossly unfair and against the principles of natural justice,” said lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The Congress petition had said Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the opposition’s impeachment notice was “illegal and arbitrary” and taken in a “cavalier, cryptic and abrupt manner”, without an inquiry.
COMMENTSThe judges assigned to hear the Congress’ challenge were Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel. Justices Bobde and Ramana are both in line for chief justice. Justice Sikri, the head of the bench, is number six in seniority.
Last month, the impeachment petition signed by over 60 Rajya Sabha parliamentarians called for Justice Misra’s impeachment six months before he retires. The motion “doesn’t deserve to be admitted”, Mr Naidu, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said just three days later.