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The two Congress MPs challenging Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra flopped on Tuesday, May 8 as they withdrew their plea.

The five-judge Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri hearing the plea declared the petition as dismissed as withdrawn after a 45-minute hearing.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, counsel of the Congress MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadyay Yajnik, said he was withdrawing the petition after the Constitution bench turned down his request for details of the administrative order passed in constituting the bench.

The Constitution bench hearing the petition didn’t include the four senior-most judges of the apex court who in January had gone public with their grievances over CJI Misra functioning and allocation of cases. The five-judge bench, led by Justice AK Sikri, comprised Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra and AK Goel.

The court asked Sibal to argue on merits of the petition, but the Congress leader was adamant that he would first see the order and decide if it should be challenged or not. As the bench also stood its ground, Sibal said he was withdrawing the plea.

During arguments in the case, Attorney General KK Venugopal, said the notice of impeachment motion was signed by 64 MPs from seven political parties but only two MPs of the Congress had approached the court. “How can only two MPs from one political party have a grievance against the Rajya Sabha chairman’s (vice president) order rejecting the notice for removal motion when six other political parties appear to have accepted it?” he questioned.

He said “the presumption is that all others have not supported the stand taken by the Congress to challenge the rejection of impeachment notice by Naidu.”

Sibal retorted that the next time he would come with a petition by 60 MPs. “Hope that will satisfy the AG on question of maintainability,” the Congress leader remarked.

Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu on April 23 rejected the impeachment notice against the CJI given by seven Opposition parties led by the Congress on five grounds of “misbehaviour”. This was the first time that an impeachment notice was filed against a sitting CJI.

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