Two Congress MPs on Monday moved the Supreme Court to challenge the rejection of the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by the Rajya Sabha chairman on the ground that there was “no proved misbehaviour”.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is also one of the signatories of the impeachment notice, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench of justice J. Chelameswar and justice S.K. Kaul.
The bench, asked Sibal and advocate Prashant Bhushan to mention the matter before the chief justice of India for urgent listing, citing a Constitution bench judgment on powers of master of roster.
The two leaders who have moved the petition are Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa, who is from Punjab, and Amee Harshadray Yajnik, who is from Gujarat.
Both Justice Chelameswar and Justice Kaul went into a huddle and asked Sibal and Bhushan to come on Tuesda so they could take a call on the issue.
Sibal said he was aware of the constitution bench judgment on master of roster, and added that since the impeachment notice concerns the CJI the senior-most judge of the apex court can order for listing.
“I am aware of the procedure but it can’t be mentioned anywhere else. A person cannot be a judge in his own cause. I am just asking for urgent listing and not seeking any interim relief,” Sibal said.
He said the CJI cannot order for listing, therefore the senior-most judge of this court must pass some orders as it was a matter of constitutional importance.
According to Sibal, this type of situation had not arisen before and the court should pass an order on who would deal with the matter and how it would be dealt with.
Justice Kaul asked Sibal, who has drafted the petition, whether the plea had been numbered.
Sibal replied that they have filed a petition in the Registry but they are not willing to number it.
“The procedure of this court is very simple. I have practiced in this court for past 45 years. The Registrar can’t take orders from the CJI in this matter. The CJI can’t delegate its master of roster powers to the Registrar. All I am asking Justice Chelameswar to consider this,” Sibal said.
Justice Chelameswar replied, “I am on the verge of retiring.”
Sibal “requested” the court to pass some orders on when the petition is to be heard and who can hear the matter.
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.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu had on April 23 rejected the notice, given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment of the chief justice of India.
Seven opposition parties led by the Congress had in April third week moved a notice before the Chairman for impeachment of the CJI on five grounds of “misbehaviour”.
This is the first time that an impeachment notice has been filed against a sitting CJI.