Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said his decision to reject the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was “timely and not a hasty one” and came after over a month of due diligence. Mr. Naidu told this to the Supreme Court lawyers who thanked him for “saving the dignity of the office of Chief Justice of India and the apex court".
Rajya Sabha Chairman’s office is not merely a post office, its constitutional authority and the decision to dismiss the impeachment motion by the Opposition was timely and not taken in haste, Mr. Naidu told the lawyers.
Dismissing the impeachment petition, Mr. Naidu on Monday said the Opposition was “unsure” of their own case. The Congress, which initiated the petition, termed the Vice President’s decision as “ill-advised and hasty”.
According to senior Rajya Sabha secretariat officials who were present at the meeting, Mr. Naidu told the lawyers that he took the decision after over a month of “due diligence and in strict conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968”.
Lawyers thanks VP
The Supreme Court lawyers led by Barun Kumar Sinha among others congratulated him and thanked him for “saving the dignity of the office of Chief Justice of India and the apex court.”
Mr. Naidu told the lawyers, according to sources, that his office had been working on the provisions, procedures and precedents since the opposition began consultation on moving such a motion.
This is not the first case where an impeachment motion has been shot down by the Chair. A similar motion was moved against Supreme Court Judge J.C.Shah and was rejected by the then Lok Sabha Speaker G S Dhillon. Justice Shah later becoming the Chief Justice of India.
“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,” Mr. Naidu told the lawyers, as per sources.
He said, that the decision was not hasty but timely. He told the lawyers that there could have been adverse consequences, if a constitutional functionaries did not act in time.
“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,” Mr. Naidu said.