The petition was made in the court of Justice Chelameswar, but as master of the roster, CJI has picked justices Bobde, Sikri, Ramana, Mishra and Goel to hear it.
New Delhi: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear the challenge to Rajya Sabha chairperson Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Tuesday.
Misra, as master of the roster, picked the judges to hear the case.
The bench comprises of justices S.A. Bobde, A.K. Sikri, N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra and A.K. Goel – the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th most senior judges.
The senior-most judges after the CJI — J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur — could not have been picked to hear the case, since many of the issues raised by them against the CJI in their unprecedented 12 January press conference found their way to the impeachment motion.
Two of the 71 MPs who signed the motion – Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik — moved the Supreme Court Monday. Senior advocate and Congress MP Kapil Sibal sought an urgent hearing before justices Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
The reason Sibal mentioned the case before Chelameswar’s bench was made clear by Sibal himself, who told the court that since the case relates to CJI Misra, he couldn’t mention it before the CJI to demand a date of hearing.
Chelameswar was initially reluctant to constitute a bench himself, as the CJI has repeatedly insisted that since he is the master of the roster, only he has the power to constitute benches.
After Chelameswar heard the case, the registry is believed to have placed it before the CJI himself to pick the bench.
Why the MPs moved court
On 23 April, Naidu, Vice-President of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, had rejected the impeachment motion, holding it was “neither legal nor desirable or proper” to admit it.
In their petition, the two MPs have said that the chairman couldn’t have refused to admit the motion by stating that in his view the charges were not made out, since this effectively meant that he was going into the merits of the charges.