VP’s rejection of impeachment call ends uncertainty over Ayodhya case hearing

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NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of impeachment petition against CJI Dipak Misra may impact the political discourse in the coming months as it has removed the uncertainty over hearing of the Ayodhya title suit by CJI’s bench.
A judgment in favour of the deity will give an impetus to the BJP campaign in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections whereas the party would try to use an adverse judgment to reap electoral benefits. BJP leaders preferring anonymity have claimed that the impeachment motion was politically motivated and aimed at scuttling the Ram Janmabhoomi case. Now that the CJI would not have to recuse himself, BJP has reasons to hope that judgment in the case would be ready before his retirement on October 2.
Though the Opposition started procuring signatures for the impeachment petition during the second half of the budget session, it was not submitted during the session.
While BJP attributed the initial move at dissuading Misra from giving a verdict in the Ayodhya dispute, finance minister Arun Jaitley termed the move as a revenge petition, alluding the fact that the petition was finally submitted a day after the CJI’s bench rejected a probe into Justice Loya’s death.
The speed at which Naidu rejected the impeachment notice may have taken the opposition by surprise.
Though he did consult a slew of legal and constitutional experts after cancelling his Sunday engagements, opposition parties are not convinced and expectedly up in arms.
Naidu’s decision has also nipped in the bud petitions submitted in the Supreme Court on Monday asking Misra to recuse himself from all cases, including the Ayodhya title suit.

With the impeachment move thwarted, he will continue to hear the cases.
As the first among equals, he will also work as master of roster and decide which bench hears each case.

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