A plea was moved in the court against rejection of impeachment move on Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Congress has withdrawn its petition challenging Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu's decision to reject the impeachment move against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra from the Supreme Court. Party leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the MPs, questioned the decision to assign the case to a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court. "Matter was listed before 5-judge bench through an administrative order. Chief justice can't pass such orders in this matter. We need to have copy of the order on setting up of bench as they may consider challenging it," he told the court. Mr Sibal is one of the signatories to the impeachment notice in Rajya Sabha.
The five-judge constitution bench assigned to hear the plea included Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel. Justices Bobde and Ramana are both in line for chief justice. Justice Sikri, who will head the bench, is number six in seniority. The petition moved by the Congress says Mr Naidu's decision was "illegal and arbitrary" and taken in a "cavalier, cryptic and abrupt manner", without an inquiry.
The senior-most judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Jospeh - who had held the controversial January 12 press conference in which they had virtually revolted against the CJI by raising litany of allegations against him, have been kept out of the matter.
Last month, the impeachment petition signed by over 60 Rajya Sabha parliamentarians called for Justice Misra's impeachment six months before he retires. The motion "doesn't deserve to be admitted", Mr Naidu, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said just three days later.
Here are LIVE updates on Chief Justice Dipak Misra impeachment move:
Ball In CJI's Court: Soli Sorabjee
Asserting that people's confidence in the judiciary has been affected due to recent events involving judges of the Supreme Court, eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee has said the "ball lies in the court of the Chief Justice" now to resolve issues through consultations.
In an interview to PTI, he said the judiciary is going through a phase which was "not desirable" and "unfortunate" as it affects the public's confidence in the judiciary, and also in its capacity to dispense free and fearless justice.
No Fault In Setting Up Constitution Bench: Fali S Nariman
"From what I hear I am equally sad. The problem is that the impeachment motion having been disallowed by the Rajya Sabha chairman was challenged and ultimately withdrawn. So that is an end to the controversy but I am extraordinarily sad that in a matter where bench fixation has to be by the chief justice because in a series of cases right from 1980s it has been held that it does not require any rules. As long as a person is CJI, he/she becomes entitled to fix the bench": Eminent jurist F S Nariman. He said he did not find any fault in the setting up of a five-judge constitution bench in the Supreme Court to deal with the pleas of Congress MPs.
After the Congress lawmaker withdrew their plea on impeachment motion against Chief Justice Of India Dipak Misra, Prashant Bhushan filed an RTI to seek detains on the constitution of five-judge bench.
There is no question of not providing a copy of the order. This is not a document covered under the Official Secrets Act: Kapil Sibal
- We don't have anything personal against anyone
- We want to protect the independence of the court
- We want to protect the dignity and independence of the court. Want to ensure that the processes of the court are not polluted
Kapil Sibal addresses media on withdrawal of plea in Supreme Court
- We filed petition in Supreme Court yesterday and was to be heard today. But we were informed last evening that our petition will be heard by 5 judges. Who gave these orders? What were the orders?
- Who constituted it? On what basis? None of which has been told to us
- We wanted to know who passed the order that our petition would be heard by a five-judge bench. Normally, reference to such a bench is made by a judicial order
- But there is no judicial order here. So who passed the order?
- If the court had made the decision, it would have had to be put on its website. But it is not there... If CJI has passed the order, then please give the order. If someone else has passed the order, we should be told who it is.
- It is our constitutional right to know who has passed these orders
- They (the bench) refused to give us the order and asked us to argue the case based purely on merit. We refused. We must know first.
- We will now decide whether to challenge the order once we get to see it first... Under the Constitution, there is no order that cannot be challenged.
- Since we felt we have the right to know who passed the order, we withdrew. We will argue the case only after we know who passed such orders.
Two Congress MPs Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Yajnik had moved a plea in the Supreme Court.
We want to know who passed this order to constitute 5 judges bench: Kapil Sibal
- CJI can't pass any order either judicial side or administrated side
- We want to know who passed this order to constitute 5 judges bench
- A matter is referred to Constitution bench when there is a question of law
- It can be done only by passing a judicial order according to SC rules
Kapil Sibal, who was one of the signatories in the impeachment move, says: "How can a petition which is not yet admitted be referred to Constitution Bench by an administrative order"
Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal asked for urgent listing of the case before a bench headed by Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge after the Chief Justice and one of the four judges who went public with their criticism of the way sensitive cases were being assigned by the Chief Justice.
Last month, over 60 Rajya Sabha parliamentarians signed a petition calling for Justice Misra's impeachment six months before he retires. The motion "doesn't deserve to be admitted", Mr Naidu, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said just three days later.
The judges who will hear the Congress's challenge are Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel. Justices Bobde and Ramana are both in line for Chief Justice. Justice Sikri, who will head the bench, is number six in seniority.