CJI impeachment: Decision to reject notice was not hasty, adhered to Constitution provisions, says Venkaiah Naidu - watsupptoday.com
CJI impeachment: Decision to reject notice was not hasty, adhered to Constitution provisions, says Venkaiah Naidu
Posted 24 Apr 2018 05:14 PM

More 24 hours after his decision to not admit the opposition notice for an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu hit back at his detractors, saying the decision was “timely and not hasty”. It came after over a month of due diligence and in strict conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, he said.

Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said “I don’t think it warrants compliments as I only did what was expected of me and in the manner the Chairman of Rajya Sabha was expected to conduct in such matters. Some Hon’ble Members of the House had a point of view and the right to express it while I had a responsibility cast on me. I have done my job and am satisfied with it”. He was speaking to a group of lawyers of the Supreme Court who met him “to compliment him and to discuss the implications of the removal notice and chairman’s order”.
Since his decision on Monday morning, opinions have ranged on both sides with some jurists complimenting him for doing the right thing while others saying he had overstepped his brief in going into the merits of the allegations against the CJI instead of letting an inquiry committee do so. Congress, which is of the latter view, has threatened to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Last Friday, a delegation led by leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and comprising MPs from Congress, SP, BSP, IUML, NCP, CPI(M) and CPI met Naidu and submitted the notice for impeachment, following it up with a press conference where they discussed its contents but did not release the document.

On Tuesday, Naidu told the lawyers that even if the decision had been taken within three days of the actual submission of the notice, that there was a move to bring an impeachment motion was in the media for over a month and he had been preparing for it all this while. “I have since been working on the provisions, procedures and precedents in the matter given the serious nature of the proposal and its implications and the imperative need for a timely decision,” he said.

According to sources present in the meeting, the lawyers, while congratulating him on the decision, told him that this is not the first case of such a notice being rejected by a Presiding Officer as has been claimed in some quarters. They referred to a similar notice against Supreme Court Judge J C Shah being rejected by the then Lok Sabha Speaker G S Dhillon. Justice Shah later became the Chief Justice of India. They also recalled that a notice for removal of Justice P D Dinakaran was admitted within three days.

The chairman said: “The concerned law (The Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, Section 3) clearly required the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to look for prima facie in the matter for either admitting the notice or refusing to do so. A clear responsibility was cast on the Chairman in this regard and it would not be correct to interpret the role of Chairman as that of mere post office. Chairman is required to act as a constitutional functionary which is a substantial responsibility”.

Naidu referred to the adverse consequences of constitutional functionaries not acting in time as in the case of defections in some States resulting in subversion of the spirit of the laws. He said, “Chief Justice of India is the highest judicial functionary of the country and any issue in public domain concerning him requires to be resolved at the earliest following prescribed procedures so as to prevent the atmosphere from being further vitiated. Issues raised in the notice mostly pertained to the functioning of the Supreme Court and they have to be resolved internally. Any other means of seeking to address them amounts to interference in the independence of judiciary.”

During the discussion, some lawyers referred to past media reports urging the chairman not to sit over the notice for an indefinite period. Naidu responded saying “Freedom of expression allows that but ultimately truth prevails. I have done the just thing in the best possible manner expected of me”.

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