Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu cut short his Hyderabad tour and returned to New Delhi on Sunday evening to address the impending judicial crisis in the wake of impeachment motion moved by the Congress-led opposition parties. On Monday morning, Naidu declared that the charges made in the notice given by seven parties to impeach Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra were neither "tenable nor admissible".
"In the absence of credible and verifiable information placed before me which gives an indication of 'misbehavior' or 'incapacity', it would be inappropriate and irresponsible act to accept statement which have little imperial basis," Naidu said.
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Naidu's decision triggered a verbal slugfest between the main opposition party Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the Congress accused Naidu of taking the decision in a hurry, the BJP said that the Rahul Gandhi-led party was resorting to the tactics of 'threatening' and pressurising judiciary.
The Congress said it would challenge Naidu's decision in the Supreme Court. Speaking during a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi, senior leader Kapil Sibal said Naidu's order jeopardised the country's legal system and alleged that the government was not keen to see a probe into the case.
"The order is unprecedented, illegal, ill-advised and hasty. We will certainly move a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge this order," Sibal said, adding that it had been passed without a full-fledged enquiry.
Modi govt 'crushing' Supreme Court: Rahul Gandhi
Just moments after Naidu's decision to not entertain the impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi went out all guns blazing at the Narendra Modi government and accused it of muzzling the Constitution.
Speaking at Delhi's Talkatora during the launch of party's 'Save the Constitution' campaign, Rahul Gandhi said Congress would not allow the ruling alliance (NDA) to derail institutions created by the Constitution.
Gandhi said that institutions such as the Supreme Court, high courts, the Lok Sabha, assemblies and the Election Commission have been built on the basis of the Constitution which has been given to the country by Dr. BR Ambedkar and the Congress.
"It has happened for the first time that four judges of the Supreme Court went to the people to seek justice. The Supreme Court is being crushed, it is being suppressed. Parliament was not allowed to run," Gandhi said, adding," I just need 15 minutes to speak in Parliament ...I challenge PM Modi won't be able to stand during my speech."
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Amit Shah hits back at Rahul Gandhi
Responding to Rahul's charge, BJP president Amit Shah, in his Facebook post, said that the opposition party's campaign was part of a larger conspiracy to "demonize and weaken every institution" that seeks to maintain its identity and does not "kowtow to the dynasty".
"The judiciary, which is an institution that is trusted by 125 crore Indians, has invited the wrath of Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in particular. I will not get into the reasons (which everybody knows) but I will say that this is a part of a larger trend to demonise and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and not kowtow to the dynasty," Amit Shah said.
(With inputs from agencies)