NEW DELHI: The Congress has withdrawn its petitions in the Supreme Court challenging Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's rejection of the opposition parties' proposal to remove Dipak Mishra from his post as the Chief Justice of India. The withdrawal was conveyed to the top court by senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal.
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court was hearing two petitions filed by Congress's Rajya Sabha members - Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik - challenging Naidu's rejection of their proposal.
Sibal questioned the listing of the petitions before the five-judge bench. He told the court that his party would consider challenging the order that set up the five-judge bench hearing the petitions. He contended that the Chief Justice of India could not pass orders allotting the hearing to the bench considering it is his removal that at stake.
The five-judge bench is headed by Justice AK Sikri, number six in seniority. The other members are Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel, who are next in the sequence of seniority.
The senior-most judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph - have been kept out of the matter. These judges had held the controversial January 12 press conference in which they had virtually revolted against the CJI by raising a host of allegations against him.
MPs from the Congress and seven other opposition political parties had signed an 'impeachment' notice And presented it to Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. He had rejected the proposal on April 23.
The Constitution of India does not make any provisions for the 'impeachment' of the Chief Justice of India. It only allows a proposal to be forwarded as a recommendation to the President after winning a two-thirds majority in Parliament. The removal of a Chief Justice is then in the hands of the President.