He said the presiding officer of either House, in which the impeachment motion has been moved, does not have the discretion to independently decide about the validity of the motion.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury today said Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the Opposition’s impeachment plea of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was done with a “certain degree of non-application of mind”. “I am sorry to say that about the honourable Vice-President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha (Naidu), but I think that the methods, that had been very clearly laid down — both in the constitutional procedures and the rules — have not been followed,” Yechury told PTI. He said the presiding officer of either House, in which the impeachment motion has been moved, does not have the discretion to independently decide about the validity of the motion.
The motion needs to be referred to a three-member committee, which normally should include a Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and a jurist. Yechury, who was re-elected as the party’s general secretary yesterday, said if that committee gives the findings, saying the impeachment motion is untenable, then the Chairman could have taken the decision. “But, without doing that, taking that decision (rejection of impeachment plea) smacks of a certain degree of non-application of mind and also been in a hurry.
I am sure that the members will go to the Supreme Court to appeal because that is the right the members have,” Yechury said. “I can say this with a certain degree of experience, because… (of the impeachment notice) I moved against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court,” the 65-year-old Left leader said. The Rajya Sabha had, in 2011, passed an impeachment motion against Justice Sen. But, before the motion could be placed in the Lok Sabha, Sen resigned. The government, Yechury claimed, did not want to create a situation where the Chief Justice of India was “deprived morally” of his authority to decide on the roster.
Earlier today, Naidu rejected the notice given by Opposition parties, led by the Congress, for impeachment of the CJI, citing “lack of substantial merit” in it. On January 12, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had raised a litany of problems, including assigning of cases in the top court, and said there were certain issues afflicting the country’s highest court.