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Published On: Tue, May 8th, 2018

Cong.MPs withdraw plea challenging rejection of CJI impeachment

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Chief-Justice-India-Deepak-MisraNEW DELHI : Two Congress MPs, who challenged the decision of the Vice President to reject the removal motion of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has been dismissed as withdrawn.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal, appearing for the lawmakers, withdrew the petition after the Supreme Court refused to share the administrative order by which the five-judge Constitution Bench was formed.
None of the senior-most judges — Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Jospeh — who had held the controversial January 12 press conference were part of the Bench.During Tuesday’s proceedings, Sibal told the court that he needed to have a copy of the order on setting up of the Bench as the petitioners may consider challenging it. Sibal said the matter was listed before a 5-judge Bench through an administrative order and that the CJI can’t pass such orders in this matter. After a 45-minute hearing, the Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, number six in seniority, declared the petition as dismissed as withdrawn.

Addressing a press conference, Sibal said the court refused to reveal who referred the case to the Constitution Bench. “We were earlier told to come to the Supreme Court for the hearing. The time given was for today. Yesterday evening we were told that the hearing today will happen in front of a Constitution Bench. No judicial order was passed. The court refused to tell us who passed the order for our case to be referred to a Constitution Bench,” says Sibal.

 

Attorney General KK Venugopal has questioned the maintainability of the petition. “Why have only two Congress MPs come? I will presume only the Congress is aggrieved. Other six parties have accepted (Rajya Sabha Chairman) Venkaiah Naidu’s decision,” he says.

 In an intriguing comment, Justice J Chelameswar on Monday said the law that nobody will be a judge in his own cause has perhaps undergone changes “in last few months”.
The judge’s remarks came when he was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal that Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra cannot assume the role of the ‘master of roster’ when the petition seeks initiation of the impeachment proceedings against the CJI himself.“When the petition is against the master of the roster himself, he cannot exercise the power to decide how this case will be heard and by which bench.
Law in this country has been that nobody can be a judge in his own cause,” said Sibal. But Justice Chelameswar retorted: “I think the law you are talking about has undergone modification in the last few months.”
Justice Sikri said Mr. Sibal was expected to argue on the merits of the case and the court can very well decide the constitution of a Bench in matters of such “seminal importance” which concerns the very institution. Justice Goel, in turn, reasoned there is no bar that a five-judge Bench cannot hear the case directly.
Justice Bobde finally asked Mr. Sibal whether he has applied for a copy of the order. Sibal asked the judges how the “dignity of the institution will be jeopardised by giving me a copy of the order?”

In the end, Mr. Sibal said the judges should either provide him with a copy or record that he was not entitled to get one. The Bench did not concede to both options, on which Mr. Sibal said he would then withdraw the petition. The Bench abruptly ended the hearing by recording that the case was “dismissed as withdrawn.” (With Agency Inputs ).

 

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