The Congress party’s intention to move Supreme Court, challenging the rejection of its impeachment motion against the Chief Justice by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, is “a suicidal future move”, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
Within hours of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejecting the impeachment motion, moved by Congress and six other parties, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said on Monday that the party would move the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.
“A suicidal future move of the Congress”, Jaitley said on the party’s intention to approach the apex court against Naidu’s decision.
The senior BJP leader said in a Facebook post that the Chairman/ Speaker of either House of Parliament has the sole discretion whether to admit the motion or to decline to do so.
“The power to admit or to decline a motion is part of the legislative process of Parliament,” he said, adding that Parliament is supreme in its own jurisdiction and its process cannot be subjected to judicial review.
This is his second Facebook post within a week on impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Jaitley, himself is a renowned lawyer, noted that a very large number of eminent lawyers are now Members of Parliament and most political parties have given nominations to some of them since their value, both in court and Parliamentary debates, is significant.
“The incidental impact of this has been a growing tendency of lawyer Members to drag intra court disputes into the parliamentary process. The misconceived motion for the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India is just one example of this,” said, Jaitley, who is also Leader of the Rajya Sabha.
In the post, ‘Why the Malafide Impeachment Motion was bound to fail?’, he said the Congress party is capable of dragging the judges into an unsavoury controversy and make them controversial “should their judicial opinion not appear favourable in the cases in which the Party has an interest”.
Jaitley said, “To any political analyst it was clear that the impeachment motion would never get support of two-third majority in both Houses of Parliament. The Congress Party knew this. Its object was not the passage of the Motion but intimidation of India’s judiciary.”
The senior BJP leader said an impeachment motion has to be filed in the rarest of rare cases where a “gross misconduct” has been indulged in by a delinquent judge during his tenure. There has to be strong and hard evidence to substantiate this, he said, adding that hearsay and rumours are not a substitute for evidence.
“The present impeachment motion has been filed on untenable grounds. It has been filed for collateral purpose to intimidate the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the highest judiciary,” he said. Jaitley termed the impeachment notice “a poorly drafted motion” and rebutted all the five charges levelled in the motion. “Unquestionably the impeachment motion was poorly drafted. The level of proof required to impeach a judge of being guilty of ‘proved misbehaviour’ has to be proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Any inquiry set up subsequent to a possible admission of a motion cannot be a fishing and roving inquiry. The inquiry dos not have to search for better evidence or a better set of facts,” he added.
He said the motion must contain a definitive case which makes out a case “beyond reasonable doubt” that the judge is guilty of “proved misbehaviour”.