How to remove a Supreme Court Judge?

Q.  During impeachment proceedings, a committee is constituted to investigate the charges against the judge. Who of the following are members of the committee?

1) Speaker of India.
2) A distinguished Jurist.
3) Vice-President of India.
4) A Chief Justice of High Court.

- Published on 03 Mar 17

a. 1, 2, 3
b. 1, 2, 4
c. 2, 4
d. All of the above

ANSWER: 2, 4
    Tenure of Judges of Supreme Court -

  • The tenure of Supreme Court judges is not fixed by the Constitution.

  • But it has following provisions -

    (a) He shall hold office until he attains the age of 65 years.

    (b) Any question regarding the age of the judge will be determined by such authority and in such way as determined by Parliament.

    (c) He can resign his office by writing to the president.

    (d) He can be removed from his office by the President on the recommendation of the Parliament on grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity.

    Removing a Judge of Supreme Court -

  • A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President.

  • The President can issue the order only after an address by the Parliament has been presented to him in the same session.

  • Address must be supported by a special majority of each House of Parliament.

  • Special majority is a majority of the total membership of that House and a majority of not less than 2/3rd of the members of that House present and voting.

  • There are 2 grounds of removal - proved misbehavior or incapacity.

  • The procedure relating to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court by the process of impeachment is regulated by The Judges Enquiry Act (1968) -

    1. Removal motion signed by 100 members (for Lok Sabha) or 50 members (for Rajya Sabha) is to be given to the Speaker/Chairman.

    2. The Speaker/Chairman may admit or refuse the motion.

    3. If admitted, a 3-member committee is formed by the Speaker/Chairman to investigate into the charges.

    4. The committee should consist of -

    (a) the chief justice or a judge of the Supreme Court;

    (b) a chief justice of a High Court; and

    (c) a distinguished jurist.

    5. The House can take up the consideration of the motion, if the committee finds the judge to be guilty of misbehavior or suffering from incapacity.

    6. On passing the motion by each House of Parliament by special majority, an address is presented to the president for removal of the judge.

    7. Lastly, the president passes an order removing the judge.

  • The only case of attempt of impeachment is that of Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court (1991-1993), which was defeated in Lok Sabha.

  • Thus, no judge of the Supreme Court has been impeached up to now.

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