Venkaiah Naidu Cuts Short Hyderabad Visit, Huddles With Legal Experts on Impeachment Motion Against CJI

Venkaiah Naidu held deliberations with a number of constitutional and legal experts, including Attorney General K K Venugopal.

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu cut short his visit to Hyderabad and returned to the national capital on Sunday to set in motion the process of consultations after an impeachment notice was filed against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by seven opposition parties.

According to sources, Naidu held deliberations with a number of constitutional and legal experts, including Attorney General K K Venugopal.

He also spoke to Subhash Kashyap, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, PK Malhotra, former law secretary, Sanjay Singh, former legislative secretary and senior officials of the Rajya Sabha secretariat. He is also likely to meet former Supreme Court judge Sudarshan Reddy, sources said.

They also said that Naidu continued with the discussions till late in the evening and also spoke to K Parasaran, who was the attorney general during the Congress governments led by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and was also a member to the Upper House nominated by the party.

Subhash Kashyap, who was consulted by the Vice President, said that he feels the notice should be rejected out rightly.

"It's a completely politically motivated motion. I think the Rajya Sabha Chairman (Naidu) should outright reject it. This is a completely politically motivated motion aimed at lowering the prestige of judiciary. Secondly, there is nothing like impeachment for judges. That is only for the president. Judge can only be removed on the ground of proven misbehavior or incapacity. But even then the Chairman should not entertain it," he told News18.

This comes after Congress and six other opposition parties on Friday moved a notice for the impeachment of CJI Dipak Misra, accusing him of five counts of "misbehaviour" and "misusing" authority.

The opposition parties had met Naidu and handed over the notice for the impeachment with signatures of 64 MPs of the Upper House. The MPs who signed the notice belong to the Congress, the NCP, the CPI (M) and CPI, the SP, the BSP and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The leaders of these parties earlier met in Parliament and gave the final shape to the notice for impeachment.

The parties had briefed the media after handing over the notice to the Upper House chairman. While reviewing the notice, the Rajya Sabha officials had mentioned that making public the contents of a notice before it is admitted by the chair is in violation of parliamentary rules.

According to the provisions in the handbook for Rajya Sabha members, no advance publicity should be given to any notice to be taken up in the House till it is admitted by the chairman.

The move to propose impeachment notice against the CJI has led to a slugfest between the Congress and the BJP. Meanwhile, the Congress said that the CJI should considering recusing himself from judicial and administrative duties until his name is cleared. The BJP has said the Congress was trying to demean, degrade and denigrate the judiciary by moving the notice.

(With PTI inputs)