NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday refused to admit a notice for the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, saying it was an attempt to “vitiate the atmosphere and undermine independence of judiciary”.
Naidu’s 10-page order set off a political slugfest with the ruling BJP accusing the Congress of committing “blasphemy” by heaping “dirt” on the highest judiciary.
The Congress stayed belligerent, saying it will move the Supreme Court to challenge the order.
“The Chairman’s order is unconstitutional, as he rejected the charges against the CJI even before an expert panel examined them,” Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal said. He alleged the government was not keen on the charges being investigated, saying “perhaps they know the CBI has some evidence.”
In his order, Naidu said he chose to expedite his decision to end needless speculation on the notice signed by 64 Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to seven parties, as a spate of statements in the media seemed to vitiate the atmosphere.
“...I find that there is virtually no concrete verifiable imputation. Either the allegations are within judicial domain and concern the internal judicial processes or there are unsubstantiated surmises and conjectures which hardly merit or necessitate further investigation,” Naidu concluded following wide ranging consultations with legal luminaries, besides referring to comments made by editors of newspapers, while refusing to admit the notice.
“In the absence of credible and verifiable information placed before me which gives an indication of misbehaviour or incapacity, it would be an inappropriate and irresponsible act to accept statements which have little empirical basis. As heirs to an illustrious democratic tradition and custodians of the present and future of democratic polity, we should collectively strengthen and not erode the foundations,” Naidu added.
Taking the lead in the attack against the Opposition, BJP chief Amit Shah claimed that “the judiciary has invited the wrath of the Congress and Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in particular ...this is part of a larger trend to demonise and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and not kowtow to the dynasty.
In the Supreme Court, information on the order trickled in during the daily customary tea when all judges sit together. They normally leave for their respective benches at 10.30 am. On Monday, CJI Misra and others began work at 10.47 am.