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How are judges impeached in India?

By Vicky

The Left has decided to move an motion to impeach Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra The impeachment proceedings are initiated under the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968. Two grounds are cited while moving an impeachment motion- proved misbehaviour and incapacity.

Dipak Misra

A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed by an order of the President of India. The order can be issued following an address the Parliament which is supported by a special majority of each house- a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting.

Here is the step wise procedure:

  • First, a removal motion has to be supported by 100 members in case of the Lok Sabha and 50 in the Rajya Sabha. The same is to be given to the Speaker of the House and it can be introduced in any of the two Houses.
  • It is up to the Speaker/Chairman to admit of reject the motion.
  • If admitted then a three-member committee is formed to investigate the charges. The Committee will comprise either the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the SC, Chief Justice of a High Court and an eminent jurist.
  • If the Committee finds the judge guilty then the House in which the motion was introduced can take up the matter.
  • Once the House passes the motion with a special majority, an address is presented to the President of India.
  • The President then passes an order to remove the judge.

Judges impeached in India:

Soumitra Sen, former judge of the Calcutta High Court was the first judge in Independent India to be impeached. He was removed in the Rajya Sabha on the allegations of misappropriation of funds.

Justice Sen was held guilty of misappropriation of public funds he received in his capacity as receiver appointed by the High Court of Calcutta and misrepresenting facts with regard to it by a committee of three judges set up by former CJI K G Balakrishnan in 2007.

A year later, Justice Balakrishnan recommended his impeachment to the PM, after which a legal opinion obtained by the law ministry endorsed the judges' committee report.

In 2009, 58 MPs of the Rajya Sabha moved a motion for the impeachment of Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen for his involvement in financial misappropriation. Probe panel was set up by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari in February 2009. It was headed by SC judge Justice B Sudershan Reddy and had as its members Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and noted Jurist Fali S. Nariman. The Committee said the charges were duly proved.

V Ramaswami: He was the first judge against whom removal proceedings were initiated in Independent India. The removal motion was placed for debate on May 10, 1993. However, in the Lok Sabha, the removal motion failed.

P D Dinakaran: Following allegations of amassing assets disproportionate to his income. Facing impeachment on charges of corruption, he resigned from the post of Sikkim High Court Chief Justice on July 29, 2011. He expressed lack of faith and confidence in the three-member inquiry committee probing the charges against him.

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