Congress Looks For "Bench-Fixing": BJP On Withdrawal Of Impeachment Plea

Senior party leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of deviating from the mainstream and "taking a fringe position".

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Congress Looks For 'Bench-Fixing': BJP On Withdrawal Of Impeachment Plea

Congress is "maligning" the country's finest institution with a "sponsored litigation," said BJP


New Delhi:  The BJP has lashed out at the Congress protest move of withdrawal of its petition in Supreme Court on the impeachment of Chief Justice of India. The party's address to the media, explaining its reasons, has further infuriated the BJP. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi must explain the matter and say where he stands on this, the BJP has said.

The Congress, the BJP said, is "maligning" the country's finest institution with a "sponsored litigation".

"Sibal and others go to court and submit sponsored litigations. They look out for bench fixing... and then don't argue on floor of the court. They withdraw the plea, come out of the court, address the media and castigate the judiciary," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said today.

Senior party leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of deviating from the mainstream and "taking a fringe position".

In its address to the media, the Congress reiterated the concerns it raised in court. Pointing out that its petition was referred to a five-judge bench - who number six to 10 in the Supreme Court hierarchy - the Congress questioned on whose order this was done.

"Had it been the court's decision, it would have been visible on the top court's official website," said senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, alleging that it had been an administrative order.

Allocation of cases is the duty of the Chief Justice of India, who is the master of the roster. It was one of the key issues flagged by the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court during their unprecedented press conference in January. The judges had alleged that important cases were being allocated to judges junior in the top court's hierarchy.

Though the matter was sorted out, with the roster being published on the court website, other concerns were raised by the opposition, leading to the notice calling for impeachment of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The notice, signed by 64 Rajya Sabha members, however, was turned down by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the upper house.  The Congress filed an appeal in the top court, challenging the decision.

"In the 70's, the Congress had superseded many judges," Mr Patra later said. "They superseded judges to ensure their means are forwarded. They tried to bring in politics into the highest court, the memory is still fresh. Congress need not be shown the mirror, as they are aware of it," he added.


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