CJI Impeachment Case
Partap Singh Bajwa v Chairman Rajya Sabha
The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha rejected an impeachment motion against a judge despite the motion having support of the requisite number of MPs.
Petitioner: Amee Yajnik; Pratap Singh Bajwa
Lawyers: Kapil Sibal
Respondent: Chairman of Rajya Sabha
Lawyers: K.K. Venugopal
Is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha’s decision to reject an impeachment motion is open to judicial review?
On 20th April, 71 MPs from seven Opposition parties, led by the Congress moved a motion for impeachment of the CJI accusing him of corruption, misuse of authority and failure to protect the independence of the judiciary. The Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 requires at least a minimum of 50 MPs from the Rajya Sabha or 100 MPs from the Lok Sabha to issue a notice to the Chairman or Speaker of the Lok Sabha in order to initiate impeachment proceedings against a judge.
The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Mr. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment motion. Mr. Naidu concluded that the motion for impeachment may be accepted only in cases of “proved misbehaviour” under Article 124(4) of the Constitution. He stressed that the petition for impeachment presented by the MPs indicates “a mere suspicion, a conjecture or an assumption.”
Thereafter, two Congress MPs, Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadyak Yajnik, challenged the rejection of the impeachment motion by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha before the Supreme Court. The matter is before a 5 judge bench.