It's an illegal order, says Congress

Tuesday, 24 Apr, 2018

The Opposition was outraged.

Naidu held extensive consultations with top legal and constitutional experts, including former chief justices and judges, before taking the decision, sources said.The rejection of the notice came a day after he held the consultations to determine the maintainability of the motion.

Sibal even quoted Naidu from his order where he had said, "the prefix "proved" places an obligation of actually proving the misbehavior...", saying that proved misbehavior can come only after an inquiry and what Naidu has applied to it is not known to law. The electronic display board showed that none of the court had assembled, giving rise to speculation in the Chief Justice's court which was packed to capacity.

The Vice President had consulted Attorney-General KK Venugopal, former law officer K Parasaran, retired Supreme Court judge Sudarshan Reddy, former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap, former Law Secretary PK Malhotra and former Legislative Secretary of the Rajya Sabha Sanjay Singh while deciding on the impeachment motion, said news reports.

"When you have a man like the chief justice of the Supreme Court, it (impeachment notice) has to have something that is far more important than just saying he did not do this or that".

"Our institutions were gifted to us by our Constitution", he told the participants of a Congress rally in New Delhi. The leader also said that he refrains from commenting on Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject it.

"Considering the totality of facts, I am of the firm opinion that it is neither legal nor desirable or proper to admit the notice of motion on any of these grounds".

Mr Nariman said the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was the only statutory authority to take the decision on the notice.

Judges who faced impeachment had earlier stepped aside from judicial work and Chief Justice should do the same, a party leader said. References to the Chief Justice by innuendo in these conversations are evident.

She cited Naidu's order in which he referred to use of words like "prime facie" and "may have been" by opposition parties in their charges referring to the CJI to highlight that their allegations indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption against him. On careful analysis and reflection, I find there is virtually no concrete verifiable imputation. The Vice President, the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, at this stage has only to consider as to whether the motion is valid. Firstly, with the BJP-led NDA opposing the impeachment motion, there is NO chance of the impeachment motion to succeed. "Conversations between third parties with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, can not themselves constitute any material evidence material against the holder of the office of the CJI", the order said.

The Opposition says Venkaiah Naidu had no right to decide the merit of their charges.

An impeachment motion against a judge of the Supreme Court or any high court has to be passed by both Houses of Parliament by a majority of two-thirds of the members present and voting, with at least half the strength of each House participating in the vote.
But, once Judge Loya case went against their expectations, the Congress immediately filed the impeachment notice in one day.

"Constitutional process of impeachment is set in motion with 50 MP's giving the motion".