Chairman's decision on impeachment illegal, SC will be moved: Sibal


New Delhi, April 23 Attacking the rejection of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dipak Misra as "illegal, wrong and unconstitutional", Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Monday said the opposition members who had signed the motion will move the Supreme Court challenging the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Addressing the after Naidu came out with a 10-page order rejecting the notice of motion signed by 64 MPs, he said it was unprecedented that the motion has been rejected even before it was admitted.

Sibal also hoped that the Chief Justice would keep out of hearing the challenge petition.

"We will certainly move the petition in the Supreme Court to challenge this order. We are confident that when we move the Supreme Court, he has nothing to do with it so that it is heard and the serious issues which are constitutional in nature in which we determine whether we will bring transparency to the process of law will be decided by the court."

The former Union Law Minister, one of the signatories to the motion, accused the Chairman of being in "tearing hurry" in deciding on the issue.

"What was the tearing hurry? If a motion is moved by signature of 64 MPs, which he admits, the whole petition, documentation, the excerpts of conversation and other things obviously it takes time for any normal person... Even as an experienced lawyer, I must say it that it takes me time to understand because I am not a super human. Before we argue a case, it takes days of consultation to consult the law and you read the facts to digest the facts and it takes some time.

"Obviously there was some tearing hurry. I don't think momentous matters like this should be disposed of in this fashion. Remember as MPs it is our privilege to move the motion. You can't boot the privilege motion in this fashion."

Sibal said it was four judges of the Supreme Court who had raised matters of concern about the functioning of the Chief Justice and the Chairman should have consulted the judges of the collegium before taking a decision.

"Without consulting the judges about the state of matters about what happened in the court, it was ill-advised of him to have rejected the motion."

He also referred to a paragraph in the order in which the Chairman had said that if every statement made in the petition was believed to be true, would it still amount to a case of proved misbehaviour and said how it could be proved without an inquiry.

"It seems to me there is a presumption that 64 MPs don't seem to have applied their mind when they moved the motion. I think this unprecedented order only shatters the confidence of people, destroys legitimate process of law. It seeks to hide, it seeks to ensure that no inquiry takes place. It jeopardizes the judicial system," he added.

Sibal referred to Naidu citing a Supreme Court ruling in which it says the Chair need not weigh the pros and cons of finding a prima facie case and said the Chairman had not followed it.

About the charge that the petition uses words like the CJI "may have been" involved in a conspiracy of paying illegal gratification, "he too was likely to fall within the scope of investigation", Sibal said complainants can only use such words and it was for the inquiry to establish the facts.

"No conspiracy can be proved by direct evidence. It is only circumstantial evidence we can prove by way of leading evidence and that is possible only in an inquiry."

On Naidu's contention that the charges lacked credible and verifiable information, Sibal said how could the Chairman come to such a conclusion without an inquiry. "How do you verify something without an inquiry."

"So it seems to us that this government is very keen that this must not be allowed to be inquired into. May be they have information that CBI has information. May be by scuttling an inquiry they do not want a lot of information to come on record. If they have that information, then it puts the legal system to jeopardy."

About the BJP charge that the motion was linked to Supreme Court judgement in the case relating to death of Judge B.H. Loya, Sibal said the move for the motion began over a month ago and the signatures included seven members of Rajya Sabha who have even retired.

He maintained that they had sought time from the Chairman's office and were informed that the appointment was on April 20. "We did not know that verdict in Judge Loya case would come on April 19."

Denying that it was a political fight, Sibal said there was also no personal motive in the whole affair.

"It were the judges of the Supreme Court who raised the issues. It were judges of Supreme Court who had said that Constitution was under threat. We waited since January. When nothing was happening, we did it. We could also keep quiet. As someone said we could have lumped it but the wound would have festered."

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