Challenging Naidu’s decision on impeachment suicidal: Jaitley

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New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday termed the Congress’ decision to move Supreme Court against the rejection of impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as “suicidal”.

He said Parliament was supreme in its own jurisdiction.

“For the Congress Party to carry forward its mistake of subjecting legislative processes to judicial review would be a blunder. The Parliament is supreme in its own jurisdiction. Its process cannot be subjected to judicial review,” he said in a Facebook post titled “Why the Malafide Impeachment Motion was bound to fail?”.

His remarks came a day after Congress said it would challenge in the Supreme Court Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s order rejecting the notice of impeachment.

Jaitley said in parliamentary practice several types of motions and resolutions are proposed under the Rules of Business. The Chairman or Speaker of the either Houses of Parliament have 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. A motion under Article 124(4) is no different from any other motion where Chair has a discretion to admit it or decline to do so.

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He said that there is a conventional view that the exercise of the discretion by the Chair of either House is not justiciable in the court of law.

“This view gains support from the observations made in the majority opinion of Justice J.S. Verma in the 1992 case (Sarojini Ramaswami vs. UOI) where the court held: “On initiation of the process in the prescribed manner, the Speaker/Chairman is to decide whether the accusations require investigations. If he chooses not to act on the accusations made in the form of a motion by a minimum number of Members of Parliament, the matter ends there”.

Jaitley, himself a lawyer, said a very large number of eminent lawyers are now MPs. Most political parties have given nominations to some of them since their value, both in court and Parliamentary debates, is significant.

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“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,” he said.

Explaining why the impeachment motion was misconceived, he said such a motion was intended to be filed in the rarest of rare cases. These cases would include those where a “gross misconduct” has been indulged in by a delinquent judge during his tenure as a judge. There has to be strong and hard evidence to substantiate this. 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.

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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.

“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,” he said.

Jaitley said the impeachment motion was also poorly drafted.

“Any inquiry set up subsequent to a possible admission of a motion cannot be a fishing and roving inquiry. The inquiry does not have to search for better evidence or a better set of facts.

“The motion must contain a definitive case which makes out a case ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the judge is guilty of ‘proved misbehaviour’,” he said.

–IANS

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