New Delhi, Apr 1: The Congress party may move to the Supreme Court if it fails to bring a motion to remove Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra in Rajya Sabha. The party is likely to take a final call on bringing a motion against the CJI in the Upper House of Parliament on Monday. The opposition bloc, which the Congress heads, is ready with a document with signatures by the requisite number of MPs. A motion to remove the CJI requires the signatures of a minimum 50 members of the House.
Since the Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu is unlikely to accept the motion to remove justice Dipak Misra, the Congress is ready for its next move. Naidu has the discretion to accept or reject a motion to remove the CJI. If the chairman rejects the motion, the Congress might approach the Supreme Court against the decision. “We can move court on the decision of the House chairman if it comes to that,” a senior leader was quoted as saying.
The opposition reportedly believes if the issue is taken to the apex court, the CJI may not be able to take a decision on it since it would involve him. Then the matter would be either referred to other judges or a full court hearing would take place. In this scenario, Congress believes moving the top court would be a sensible decision, said a report. The party has been reaching to other opposition parties before moving a motion against justice Misra.
Earlier this week, Congress leaders reached out to Rajya Sabha MPs of DMK, Samajwadi Party, NCP, TMC and Left parties. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar of the NCP are learned to have supported the move. In January, Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that his party was contemplating to bring an impeachment motion against justice Misra in the Budget Session of Parliament.
In an unprecedented press conference, four senior-most judges of Supreme Court – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – said that “things are not in order” at the Supreme Court. One of the key points raised by the four judges was the “selective” allocation of cases by the CJI.
The judges released an undated letter they wrote to Justice Misra in which they conceded that the Chief Justice was the master of the roster but this was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”. Asked if they were seeking impeachment of the CJI, Justice Chelameswar said: “We are not saying anything. Let the nation decide.”