Allegations against CJI neither tenable nor admissible: Chairman

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu.

File photo of Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The Chairman Rajya Sabha, having considered the material contained in the Notice of Motion and reflected upon the inputs received in his interaction with legal luminaries and constitutional experts, has come to the firm opinion that the Notice of Motion does not deserve to be admitted.

As there is no substantial and verifiable evidence that warrants further action, he has refused to admit the notice of motion.

The Chairman has gone through the five allegations mentioned in the Notice, and was of the view that they are neither tenable nor admissible and have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of judiciary which is the basic tenet of the Constitution of India.

Prior to arriving at his decision, Chairman Naidu consulted legal luminaries, constitutional experts and eminent jurists who generously shared their insights based on their long, rich experience.

Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap, former Secretary-General, Lok Sabha, Dr. Vivek K. Agnihotri, former Secretary-General, Rajya Sabha, Shri P.K. Malhotra, former Law Secretary, Dr. Sanjay Singh, former Law Secretary, Shri Justice B. Sudershan Reddy, Retired Supreme Court Judge, Shri K.K. Venugopal, Attorney General of India, Shri K. Parasaran, former Attorney General of India & former MP, Shri Soli Sorabji, former Attorney General of India, Shri Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India were consulted and a detailed personal conversation was done with some of them on all the aspects arising from the notice

64 MPs from Congress and six other opposition parties had presented the petition last week.

Noting order, the Chairman said the petitioners were unsure of their own case. Page 1 of the petition uses phrases such as “the facts and circumstances relating to the Prasad Education Trust case show prima facie evidence suggesting that the Chief Justice of India ‘may have been’ involved in a conspiracy of paying illegal gratification….” The motion further states with regard to “the Chief Justice of India that “he too was likely’ to fall within the scope of investigation”.

It further states that “the Chief Justice of India appears to have anti-dated an administrative order”.

“I am mentioning this fact because the phrases used by the Hon’ble Members of Parliament themselves indicate a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption. The same certainly does not constitute proof “beyond reasonable doubt”, which is required to make out a case of “proved misbehaviour” under Article 124 (4),” the order read.

“Conversations between third parties with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, cannot themselves constitute any material evidence against the holder of the office of the Chief Justice of India,” it stated further.

With regard to the charge that Chief Justice has abused his administrative authority as master of roster, the order referred to the recent order by a bench of five honourable judges which had reaffirmed the settled position that the CJI is the Master of the roster.

“It is also clearly an internal matter to be resolved by the Supreme Court itself. Going through the five allegations mentioned in the Notice, I am of the view that they are neither tenable nor admissible,” it said.

The allegations emerging from the present case have a serious tendency of undermining the independence of judiciary which is the basic tenet of the Constitution of India, the Rajya Sabha Chairman said further in his detailed 10-page order.

The chairman based his decision on a number of Supreme Court judgements which held that “the foundation of the judiciary is the trust and the confidence of the people in its ability to deliver fearless and impartial justice.

“When the foundation itself is shaken by acts which tend to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of the court by creating distrust in its working, the edifice of the judicial system gets eroded,” he said.

“If such confidence is shaken or broken, the confidence of the common man in the institution of judiciary and democratic set-up is likely to be eroded which, if not checked, is sure to be disastrous for the society itself.”

In the absence of credible and verifiable information placed before him the chairman felt, it would be an inappropriate and irresponsible act to accept statements which have little empirical basis.

As heirs to an illustrious democratic tradition and custodians of the present and future of democratic polity, he stated that we should, collectively strengthen and not erode the foundations of the grand edifice bequeathed to us by the Constitution makers.

He was firm that we cannot allow any of our pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word, or action.

Examining all the factors carefully and dispassionately, he concluded that further proceedings tend to undermine the faith of the common person in the judicial system. He was of the view that it is imperative that we should have extraordinary, important and substantial grounds for the removal of a judge.