Opposition was unsure of its charges in impeachment notice: BJP

Opposition leaders at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday

Opposition leaders at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday

Echoing Nariman's views, former chief justice of India, KG Balakrishnan pointed out that charges of misbehaviour made out by the Opposition MPs against Chief Justice Dipak Misra were not enough to seek removal of a judge and that the lawmakers should have "proved misbehaviour" if they had hoped for having their notice accepted by the Rajya Sabha chairman.

Naidu said the MPs who presented the petition were unsure of their own case.

The Congress party, which had spearheaded the Opposition's move for the Chief Justice's removal, has now indicated that it would move the Supreme Court in challenge against the Rajya Sabha chairman's decision.

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi also accused the Congress of being "institutional disruptor" and of playing "dirty politics".

Addressing a joint press conference with noted lawyer K T S Tulsi and head of the AICC legal cell Vivek Tankha, senior Congress leader and former Law minister Kapil Sibal said Mr Naidu was not the authority to decide merit of the motion.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the Supreme Court was "being pressured and destroyed".

Naidu cited a Supreme Court order to reiterate that the CJI, as Master of Roster, was entitled to allocate cases as he deemed fit and referred it as an internal matter of the judiciary.

Surjewala said within hours of 64 MPs submitting the impeachment notice, Leader of the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had shown "naked prejudice" by calling it a revenge petition, "virtually dictating the verdict" to the Rajya Sabha chairman.

The order, which said that the Notice of Motion does not deserve to be admitted, also drew a mixed response among the legal fraternity.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal termed Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu's decision "hasty and illegal", and said he should have consulted the collegium before rejecting the motion. He said that the party is going to accept whatever decision the court takes.

Naidu said, "I am mentioning this fact because the phrases used by the Hon'ble Members of Parliament themselves indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption". 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.

In 2010, Mr Sibal had called the same process "unconstitutional" as parties would have to issue a whip in the house to ensure numbers. This was the first time such a notice was filed against a sitting CJI. "You can not boot the privilege in this manner", Sibal said, adding that the government is very keen that charges made in the petition must not be allowed to be inquired into.

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.

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