New Delhi: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday moved an RTI application in the Supreme Court Additional Registrar office to find out if the CJI impeachment case was referred to a five-judge Constitution bench by way of administrative order and who passed it.
The move came after the bench hearing the plea refused to answer the question, and senior counsel Kapil Sibal subsequently withdrew a petition moved by two Congress MPs against Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu’s dismissal of a notice to impeach Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.
“Was writ petition Pratap Singh Bajwa and Another versus Chairman Rajya Sabha and Another listed on May 8 before a Constitution bench by way of an administrative order? If yes, who has passed the above mentioned order,” Bhushan asked in his application seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Besides a copy of the order, Bhushan also said that he be allowed to “inspect the concerned file along with any file noting concerning the said order”.
On April 20, members from seven opposition parties led by the Congress submitted a notice to Chairman Naidu to initiate impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Misra on five counts of “misbehaviour” — a notice rejected by Naidu.
On Monday, Congress MPs Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Yajnik filed a petition alleging that Naidu’s decision was politically motivated.
“It was mentioned before the court that since the case deals directly with the CJI on impeachment and therefore the CJI could not have heard the mentioning or exercise any power as the master of the roster or for listing the case,” Bhushan told the media.
“But suddenly last night, the registry announced that the case has been listed before a Constitution bench in Court 6. It has never happened before that a matter/petition is listed before a Constitution bench even without a judicial order and we need to know if the CJI has passed this order.”
Bhushan said every administrative order of any authority, even if it is of the CJI, is capable of being challenged on the judicial side.
“Unfortunately, the bench said they would not like to go into this matter and they would not like to provide a copy of the order,” the senior lawyer said.