[Polity] Impeachment process of SC judge

Removal of SC judge is termed as impeachment. Consitution lays down procedure in article 124(2) and it is suplemented by Judges (Inquiry ) Act, 1968.
  1. A motion addressed to the President is delivered to Speaker which is signed by at least 100 Lok Sabha MPs or 50 Rajya Sabha MPs.
  2. A Committee of 2 SC judges and 1 eminent jurist is formed to investigate the motion.
  3. If the committee finds the judge guilty of misbehaviour or that he suffers from incapacity, the motion together with report of the committee is taken up for consideration in the House where motion is pending.
  4. If motion is passed in both houses by at least 2/3rd members present and voting and at least half of total strength of the house, the address is presented to the President
  5. President gives his/her order for removal of Judge based on the address.

Also Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2006 seeks to establish the National Judicial Council to undertake preliminary investigation and inquire into allegations of misbehaviour or incapacity of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court and to regulate the procedure for such investigation, inquiry and proof, and for imposing minor measures and for the presentation of an address by Parliament to the President of India.

Judicial Standard and Accountability Bill 2010 was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2012. This is one of bills relating to address problem of corruption

and accountability in Judiciary. It is important to note that Judiciary is out of purview of Lakpal.
PRS summary of bill can be found by clicking here.

Important issues relating to current bill as per prs.org

  • The key issue is whether the balance between independence and accountability is maintained by the proposed mechanism in the Bill.  The Oversight Committee has non-judicial members which might impinge on the independence of the judiciary.
  • The Bill penalises anyone who breaches the confidentiality of complaints.  It is questionable whether a penalty is needed for a frivolous complaint that remains confidential.
  • The Scrutiny Panel has judges from the same High Court.  This is different from the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court.
  • The Oversight Committee has non-judicial members.  The procedure of the Committee is not an in-house procedure of the judiciary.  It is not clear whether the power of the Oversight Committee to impose minor measures is constitutionally valid.
  • The Bill does not mention whether a judge has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against an order of removal issued by the President after Parliament finds him guilty of ‘misbehaviour’.

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