Two Congress MPs today withdrew their plea in the Supreme Court challenging rejection of the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
After a 45-minute hearing, a five-judge bench headed by Justice A K Sikri declared the petition as dismissed as withdrawn. After senior advocate Kapil Sibal raised some objections on the setting up of the five-judge constitution bench to hear the matter, Attorney General KK Venugopal said only two MPs of Congress have approached the apex court.
Venugopal submitted that six other parties, which had given a notice for impeachment, did not move the top court. The AG said "the presumption is that all others have not supported the stand taken by the Congress to challenge the rejection of impeachment notice by Naidu."
Earlier during the hearing, Sibal had raised questions on the setting up of the constitution bench, including who passed the order for setting up the five-judge bench to hear the matter. He further said the matter was listed before the five-judge bench through an administrative order and the CJI cannot pass such orders in this matter. Sibal had also sought of a copy of the order on setting up of the bench, saying they intended to challenge it.
However, the bench also comprising Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel said it is a "piquant and unprecedented situation where the CJI is party and other four judges may also have some role".
As it Happened:
11:14 am: Congress MPs withdraw plea challenging rejection of notice on impeachment against CJI Dipak Misra by RS chairman.
11:14 am: Sibal tells SC that they need to have copy of the order on setting up of bench as they may consider challenging it.
11:14 am: Sibal says matter was listed before 5-judge bench through an administrative order, says CJI can't pass such orders in this matter.
11:12 am: Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the MPs, asks who passed the order for setting up a 5-judge bench to hear matter.
11:12 am:Two Congress MPs question listing of their plea, challenging rejection of impeachment notice against CJI, before 5-judge SC bench.
Naidu had on April 23 rejected the impeachment notice against the CJI given by seven opposition parties led by the Congress on five grounds of "misbehaviour". This was the first time that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI.