NEW DELHI: As the Congress awaits the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on an impeachment notice moved by it and other parties against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, it is considering moving the Supreme Court if the petition is rejected, party leaders said.
They said if the Upper House chairman did not find merit in the notice for the impeachment, the decision could call for a judicial review.
“The chairman’s decision is open to being challenged. It is bound to go for a judicial review,” said a Congress leader. The Congress was also trying to build up “moral pressure” on the Chief Justice of India in the hope that he would step aside from judicial duty if an impeachment motion was moved against him.
Judges who faced impeachment had earlier stepped aside from judicial work and the Chief Justice should do the same, a party leader said.
“It is only a convention, though there is no legal or constitutional bar (on this),” the leader said.
The Congress also hoped that the decision on the motion would be taken soon.
“He (the RS Chairman) cannot sit on it indefinitely, though there is no deadline laid out in the Constitution,” a legal expert said, citing the case of an anti-defection law where the court had said it should be decided within a “reasonable” time-frame.
Meanwhile, an official in Parliament stressed that making public the contents of a notice before it was admitted violated Parliamentary rules.
This assumes significance in the wake of the seven opposition parties, led by the Congress, initiating an unprecedented step last week for the impeachment of CJI Misra by moving a notice levelling several charges against him.
According to the provisions in the handbook for Rajya Sabha members, no advance publicity should be given to any notice to be taken up in the House till it is admitted by the chairman.
“A notice for raising a matter in the House should not be given publicity by any member or other person until it has been admitted by the Chairman and circulated by members.
A member should not raise the issue of a notice given by him and pending consideration of the Chairman,” according to Rule 2.2 of Parliamentary Customs and Conventions in the handbook.
A retired Lok Sabha official said the same rule also applied to the Lower House as it was listed under rule 334A of the procedure and conduct of its business.
The notice has been referred by Naidu to Rajya Sabha Secretariat officials, who are preparing the file and identified this violation, the official said.
According to the senior official in Parliament, a bulletin issued by the Rajya Sabha on December 8, 2017, reiterates the rule under parliamentary customs and conventions.
Leaders of the opposition parties had met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and handed over the notice of impeachment bearing the signatures of 64 MPs and seven former members, who had recently retired.