As the Congress today moved court, challenging the rejection of an impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, a senior official in Parliament said M Venkaiah Naidu had acted under the provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, in turning down the party's move against the CJI.
The Act mandated the Presiding Officer to either accept or reject such a notice, he said.
"It is not mandatory to refer such a notice to an inquiry committee. That comes only if the chairman is satisfied prime facie of the charges," the Rajya Sabha official told PTI.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu had consulted top legal and constitutional experts in taking a decision on the impeachment notice.
The official, who did not wish to be identified, said the first case of an impeachment notice being rejected was by the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1977 when 199 members moved a notice against Justice J C Shah.
Shah later went on to become the CJI.
Two Congress MPs moved the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of the impeachment notice against Misra by Naidu, claiming that the reasons given were "wholly extraneous" and not legally tenable.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was one of the signatories of the impeachment notice in the Rajya Sabha, mentioned the matter for an urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most after CJI Misra.
A five-judge constitution bench was today constituted in the Supreme Court to hear the petition moved by the two Congress MPs tomorrow. -- PTI