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CJI impeachment row updates: Our constitutional right to know who passed order to refer case to 5 judges, says Kapil Sibal

A five-judge constitution bench will hear a petition moved by two Congress MPs challenging rejection of the impeachment notice against CJI Misra

FP Staff May 08, 2018 10:35:52 IST
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CJI impeachment row updates: Our constitutional right to know who passed order to refer case to 5 judges, says Kapil Sibal

Highlights

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

May 08, 2018 - 12:40 (IST)

The Congress party does not have a personal problem with any judge, says Kapil Sibal

May 08, 2018 - 12:39 (IST)

Court asks petitioners to argue on the merits of the case

"The court did not say anything on our demand for a copy of the order, neither agreed to give us a copy of the order nor denied. It instead asked us to argue based on the merits of the case.

"We said we can only argue on the merits of the case if we receive a copy of the order, because there is no order that cannot be challenegd under the constitution," Kapil Sibal said on Tuesday.

May 08, 2018 - 12:35 (IST)

Kapil Sibal questions bench assigned to hear matter

May 08, 2018 - 12:31 (IST)

It is our constitutional right to know who passed the order: Kapil Sibal

Addressing the press on Tuesday, Sibal said, "We wanted to know who decided that the matter will be heard by a bench of five judges. It was an administrative decision, and wasn't displayed on the court's website."

"If the chief justice or someone else passed the order, we wanted a copy of it. It is our constitutional right to know who passed such an order." 

May 08, 2018 - 12:26 (IST)

Kapil Sibal addresses the press, explaining his withdrawal of the petition

May 08, 2018 - 12:01 (IST)

Kapil Sibal's strategy at the SC

What Sibal tried to do was to bring down the entire edifice of the impeachment structure by removing the first brick in the protective wall. He wanted the constitutional bench to rule that the moment more than 50 MPs move a motion, Section 3 (2) of the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, must kick in and the process of impeachment must begin.

Read the full piece here

May 08, 2018 - 11:54 (IST)

Before withdrawing the petition, Sibal asked who listed the order for a constitution bench

Kapil Sibal said matter was listed before 5-judge bench through an administrative order, adds that the Chief Justice of India can't pass such orders in this matter.

May 08, 2018 - 11:37 (IST)

The short hearing on Tuesday on the rejection of the impeachment notice by the Vice President of India

May 08, 2018 - 11:35 (IST)

Prashant Bhushan on what transpired inside the courtroom today:

A petition was filed by two MPs for urgent hearing challenging the decision of the Vice President. The Supreme Court said the matter will be heard today.

But suddenly last night, the apex court said a contitutional bench will be formed to hear the case. At 10.30 am when the matter was taken up, Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, said, "We need to know how the matter had come straight to be listed under a constitutional bench."

It has never happened before that a writ petition is listed before a constitution bench even without a judicial order. "And we need to know if the Chief Justice of India has passed this order. If the Chief Justice has passed the order, what are the grounds? We need to have a look at the order so that we can challenge this order because any administrative order can be challenged," Sibal said. 

Unfortunately, the bench said they would not like to go into this question or provide a copy of the order, and would instead like to hear this matter.

Then Sibal said if you're not giving us a copy of the order, please allow us to withdraw the petition. Then the petition was withdrawn.

May 08, 2018 - 11:25 (IST)

This was always going to be the result: Subramanian Swamy

"Kapil Sibal and the Congress have a habit of punishing themselves. This was always going to be the case," BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said

CJI impeachment row updates: A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court is all set to hear on Tuesday a petition moved by two Congress MPs challenging rejection of the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

The bench will be headed by Justice AK Sikri, number six in seniority. The other members are Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice AK Goel, who are next in the sequence of seniority.

The senior-most judges — Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice MB Lokur and Justice Kurian Jospeh — who had held the controversial 12 January press conference in which they had virtually revolted against the CJI by raising litany of allegations against him, have been kept out of the matter.

The setting up of the constitution bench was mentioned in Tuesday's list of business for the Supreme Court.

CJI impeachment row updates Our constitutional right to know who passed order to refer case to 5 judges says Kapil Sibal

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

The development came hours after Justice Chelameswar, before whom the petition of the two Congress MPs was mentioned, expressed reservation in hearing the matter asking senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Prashant Bhushan to "come back tomorrow".

The issue was raised at the start of the court's work in the morning when Sibal, one of the signatories to the impeachment notice in Rajya Sabha, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar, the senior-most after CJI Misra.

In the petition challenging the rejection of impeachment notice against the CJI by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, the two MPs claimed that the reasons given were "wholly extraneous" and not legally tenable.

While Justice Chelameswar had initially asked him to mention the matter before the CJI, the bench, also comprising Justice SK Kaul, later asked Sibal and Bhushan to "come back tomorrow". Justice Chelameswar also said he was on the verge of retirement.

Making his submissions, Sibal said Chairman Venkaiah Naidu cannot summarily reject the notice bearing signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members who had recently retired, on the ground that there was "no proved misbehaviour".

The bench asked Sibal and Bhushan to mention the matter before the Chief Justice of India for urgent listing, citing a constitution bench judgment on the powers of master of roster.

However, BJP leaders and advocates Meenakshi Lekhi and Aman Sinha told PTI there was no merit in the challenge to the rejection of the impeachment notice as the Rajya Sabha Chairman's order was well reasoned and completely dealt with each and every ground.

While Lekhi termed the filing of plea in the apex court as a "deceptive methodology" of the Congress party to remain in the news, Sinha said there was no legal ground to challenge the decision of the Rajya Sabha chairman.

In the apex court, Justice Chelameswar, who was initially reluctant to order listing of the petition said "there was a five-judge constitution bench verdict on powers of master of roster. It would be appropriate if you mention the matter in court number-1 before the bench of Chief Justice of India".

However after the submissions, Justice Chelameswar and Justice Kaul went into a huddle and asked Sibal and Bhushan to come tomorrow so they could take a call on the issue. "You come back tomorrow. We will see", the bench said.

The two leaders who have filed the petition are Rajya Sabha Congress MPs Partap Singh Bajwa from Punjab and Amee Harshadray Yajnik from Gujarat.

A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court had on 10 November 2017 categorically stated that the Chief Justice of India was the "master of the roster".

Advancing his arguments, Sibal said "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."

He said the CJI cannot order for listing and hence the senior-most judge of the court must pass some orders as it was a matter of constitutional importance.

Naidu had on 23 April rejected the impleachment notice given by seven opposition parties led by the Congress on five grounds of "misbehaviour". This was the first time that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI.

The petition of the two Congress MPs filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes in the top court alleged that the charges contained in the notice of the motion were extremely serious and called for a full fledged inquiry.

It also said the reasons given by Naidu while rejecting the impeachment notice were "not legally tenable" and deserved to be set aside for being "wholly extraneous" and ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution and the Inquiry Act.

It sought setting aside of the Chairman's order terming the charges contained in the notice of motion are "extremely serious" and merit "a full-fledged inquiry to test their veracity".

Updated Date:

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