Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rejected the notice given by Opposition parties led by the Congress for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, citing lack of substantial merit in it. Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts before taking the decision, sources told PTI.
The rejection of the notice comes a day after he held the consultations with such experts to determine the maintainability of the motion. Seven Opposition parties led by the Congress had last week moved a notice before him for the impeachment on five grounds of "misbehaviour". This is the first time in independent history that an impeachment notice has been filed against a sitting chief justice.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the party will challenge Naidu's rejection of the impeachment notice in the Supreme Court. He claimed that that the Rajya Sabha chairman's order was "illegal" and passed without a full-fledged enquiry.
Here is how politicians from across political parties have reacted to the development:
Kapil Sibal, Congress leader
"We will certainly file a petition (in the Supreme Court) against this and would want the CJI to not take any decision with respect to it, be it the listing or anything else, we'll accept whatever the Supreme Court decides," Sibal said. "Never before in India's history has a motion moved by MPs been dismissed at the preliminary stage," he added, criticising Naidu's rejection of the impeachment motion.
Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson
"As far as the Congress is concerned, the party knew all along that this is going to happen eventually. Some of the stalwarts and lawyers of the Congress party who understand the proceedings very well also knew that the motion stood on weak ground. At the end of the day, we have to see the politics behind it.
After the judge BH Loya case, the frontal attack of the Congress party against the judiciary was evident. They knew they never had the numbers and that this (impeachment motion) would fall, but they wanted to give a veiled threat. It was a threat to the judiciary as Arun Jaitley had said in his blog."
Sitaram Yechury, CPM general-secretary
"This was a wrong move by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. This motion was not given proper attention. Something else is behind this. Independence of the judiciary is in danger," Yechury was quoted by News18 as saying.
Abhishek Singhvi, Congress leader
Top lawyer and senior Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi the rejection was expected.
Expectedly, Sh Naidu rejected imp’ment motion. Unexpectedly, he did so within one day of returning from outstn. Hopefully, the alacrity was not intended to render infructuous calls for CJI to stop Admn work
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) April 23, 2018
Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar
Sushil Kumar Modi recalled that former prime minister Indira Gandhi had "superseded three judges" for "not giving favourable orders."
Indira Gandhi superseded 3 judges for not giving favourable orders & appointed AN Rai CJI.After 45 yrs Rahul Congress brought impeachment becose CJI refused to oblige in Loya case.If no favour,destroy institution. — Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) April 23, 2018
PL Punia, Congress leader
"This is a really important matter. We don't know what the reason for the rejection was. Congress and other Opposition parties will talk to some legal experts and take the next step."
Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer
Reacting to the rejection of charges, lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted:
What!! VP Naidu rejects impeachment motion against CJI signed by 64 RS MPs! On what grounds? He has no power to say that charges are not made out. That's for the inquiry committee of 3 judges. He only has to see if it's signed by >50 MPs & possibly if charges are of misbehaviour — Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 23, 2018
Subramanian Swamy, Rajya Sabha member, BJP
"There was never any evidence, it was all bogus. It (the impeachment motion) should have been rejected yesterday itself. I was saying from the beginning that this is a motivated move attempting to blackmail the judiciary. They (the Congress) want to be judge, prosecutor and jury at the same time. Sorry, it cannot be."
Soli Sorabjee, former attorney-general
Speaking to CNN-News18, former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee said, "The vice-president has applied his mind, found no grounds, consulted legal experts and then took a decision."
RS Sodhi, former judge
Former judge RS Sodhi says the motion to impeach Misra was not a "wise act":
You know you don't have any ground, you know you can't impeach him. In spite of knowing all that still you go on & plunge in this ill-advised move. This can't be considered as a wise act: Justice (Retd) RS Sodhi on rejection of Impeachment Notice against CJI by VP Venkaiah Naidu. pic.twitter.com/WSoClgg65K — ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 16:17 PM