Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal Sunday said he will not appear in the court of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, whose removal he and 63 others have sought, for the remainder of the judge’s term. Sibal, who has a roaring practice in the Supreme Court and many important matters in the CJI’s court, told The Indian Express, “I will not appear in the Chief Justice’s court from tomorrow onwards… till he retires, because that is consistent with the highest standards of my profession.”
Sibal clarified, “If he (the CJI) continues (in office) till he retires, and if an inquiry is set up, till he recuses. We believe in maintaining standards.”
Sibal said this when asked why his colleague at the Bar, former minister P Chidambaram and some other party leaders had not signed the notice for the motion which had been presented to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. “We did not even ask Mr Chidambaram to sign because there are cases pending and I am there his counsel,” Sibal replied. He added, “In fact, it is a great loss for him because I cannot appear anymore in that court.”
Besides the cases against Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, some of the other cases that Sibal is arguing in the CJI’s court include the Ayodhya matter in which he represents one of the petitioners, and the defamation case by Jay Shah against news portal wire.in.
Asked if the Rajya Sabha chairman could reject the notice of motion, the senior advocate said the chairman had no quasi-judicial powers to decide on the merits of the notice, and it would be for the Committee that would be set up under the Judges (Inquiry) Act to take a decision.
“He (Naidu) has no jurisdiction. He cannot decide on the merits of the motion. He can only decide on the procedure. So the provision in the Judges (Inquiry) Act for him to either dismiss or admit, relates to only whether 50 members have signed, their signatures are there and motion is in order. He is to refer that matter to the Judges (Inquiry) Committee for decision on the merits. He has no role to play as far as the merits are concerned… He can’t dismiss it. It’s not permissible under the Constitution. He can dismiss it provided 50 members are not there, provided the charges are inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution. But otherwise he cannot. He cannot say this is not enough. He is not a quasi-judicial authority to decide on the motion. That’s for the Judges (Inquiry) Act,” Sibal said.