Five-judge Constitution bench to hear plea on CJI's impeachment

Five-judge Constitution bench to hear plea on CJI's impeachment


The Congress has challenged in the Supreme Court the rejection of its Impeachment Move against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Instead, the Constitution bench is headed by Justice AK Sikri, who is placed in the seniority list just below the five senior most judges forming the Collegium, and will comprise of four other judges next in seniority to him, namely Justices Sharad Arvind Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and Adarsh K Goel. Justice Sikri is judge number six in the Supreme Court. The four senior most judges - Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph - are not part of the Constitution Bench.

While Justice Chelameswar initially showed reluctance, Sibal and Bhushan insisted that since the CJI as master of roster is disqualified from hearing a petition on his own removal, it needed to be heard and decided by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar. "The procedure is simple, but if Your Lordship wishes to depart from it, I have nothing to say".

To Mr Sibal's debate, the judges answered the petition should be consumed before the main Justice, whose function as learn of their roster - the anyone to pick on assigning of cases - had been defined.

He also said that the Parliament was supreme in its own jurisdiction and its process can not be subjected to judicial review and "impeachment" motion was filed on untenable grounds for a collateral goal to intimidate the CJI and other judges.

Sibal said he is not asking for any interim order but seeking listing of the petition before an appropriate bench.

Advocate Bhushan, who appeared along with Sibal, said according to rules, the CJI is disabled to pass any order and only the senior-most judge can decide on the listing of the petition.

The CJI allegedly listed the petition against the Prasad Education Trust before himself, even when he was heading the Constitution bench, which is against the convention.

Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu had April 23 rejected the notice, given by opposition parties led by the Congress for impeachment of the CJI.

"You come back to us tomorrow at 10.30am", Justice Chelameswar told Sibal. This was the first time that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI. Sibal said the RS chairman erroneously concluded that the notice of motion did not give proof of the five counts of alleged misconduct.

Arguing that the charges made in the notice of motion were extremely serious, the two MPs sought that their veracity be tested through a full-fledged inquiry and not be adjudicated in "a whimsical manner" as Naidu's order sought to do.

  • Terrell Bush