Owing to the charges put up by judges, the Indian National Congress is learnt to be building support of Members of Parliament to initiate an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India.
A historic press conference held by four top judges of the Supreme Court in February resulted in unprecedented questioning of the judiciary’s accountability. Targeting Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, all four judges suggested that “everything is not right in the judiciary.” Now, owing to the charges put up by judges, the Indian National Congress is learnt to be building support of Members of Parliament to initiate an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India.
As soon as the news of an impeachment motion broke out, many wondered what is an impeachment motion and what is the process required to sack an apex court judge.
Article 124 (4) of Constitution of India deals with the impeachment of a judge. “Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.” The impeachment process includes Article 124 (2) (b), Article 14 (4), Article 124 (5), and the Judges Inquiry Act 1968, has to be taken into account.
The impeachment of CJI or any other Supreme Court judge is certainly a difficult task considering there are a number of hiccups involved. In India, no Supreme Court judge has ever been impeached. However, a number of judges have seen impeachment being moved against them. Though none of the impeachments were successful, they dealt a serious blow to the integrity of the particular judge and the accountability of the institution.
Yet, removing a judge remains to be a difficult task. Here’s all that is needed to remove a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India:
– First and foremost, a removal motion signed by 100 members of Lok Sabha or 50 members of Rajya Sabha has to be submitted to the Speaker/Chairman. The motion can be moved in any of the two Houses of Parliament.
– The Speaker/Chairman holds the right to admit or reject the motion.
– In case the motion is admitted, the Speaker/Chairman constitutes a three-member committee to investigate the charges against the judge. The Committee consists of the Chief Justice or a judge of the Supreme Court, a chief justice of a high court and a distinguished jurist.
– If the committee finds charges against the judge to be true, the Parliament can take up the consideration of the motion.
– The House requires to pass the motion with a special two-third majority. After passing one House (Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha), the bill goes to the second House which also has to pass it with a special majority.
– If the motion is passed by both the Houses, an address is presented to the President for removal of the judge.
– In the last step, the President can pass an order removing the judge.