The Supreme Court on Thursday hinted at referring to a Constitution Bench the Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran’s petition challenging the impeachment process adopted against him.

“We are thinking why not the matter be referred to a Constitution Bench,” a vacation bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and C.K. Prasad said at the fag end of the day’s hearing.

The Bench’s remarks came after counsel Basava Prabhu Patil and Romy Chacko, appearing for Justice Dinakaran, argued the Constitution Bench in Justice Ramaswamy case did not decide the question whether a Parliament-appointed panel can travel beyond the jurisdiction of the impeachment motion.

Justice Dinakaran’s counsel also submitted no third party should be allowed to implead in the matter as it amounted to scrutinising the conduct of even the committee.

In an apparent reference to media reports and statements, the counsel submitted a “parallel inquiry” was being conducted against the judge even before his case was decided.

“When there is a public debate of a judge’s conduct, it becomes difficult for the judge to function,” Mr. Patil submitted.

He argued the judge unfortunately stood condemned even before his innocence or otherwise was established by the inquiry committee.

The counsel repeatedly said the Rajya Sabha-appointed panel had exceed its jurisdiction by framing 14 charges on the basis of fresh complaints whereas there were only 12 charges at the time when the motion was introduced in Parliament.

It was argued that the committee should restrict itself to the original 12 charges instead of inviting further complaints from various persons, which was not permissible under the law, the counsel argued.

Justice Dinakaran had also sought recusal of senior advocate P.P. Rao on the ground that he was allegedly biased against him as he was part of a delegation which had met the then Chief Justice K.G. Balarkrishnan to oppose his elevation to the Supreme Court.

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