Chief Justice of India sought for removal of a Judge of Allahabad High Court

What’s in News Recently, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India (CJI) Rajan Gogoi has written to the Prime Minister to initiate a motion in Parliament for removal of a judge of the Allahabad High Court- Justice SN Shukla. Background The removal was recommended earlier too by ex-CJI Justice (retd.), Dipak Mishra, who had written to the President of India recommending his removal for his alleged involvement in the medical college admission scam. In January 2018, a three-judge in-house committee, comprising Chief Justices Indira Banerjee, S.K. Agnihotri and P.K. Jaiswal of the Madras, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, respectively, founded there was sufficient substance in the allegations against Justice Shukla and the irregularities were serious enough to call for initiation of proceedings for his removal. Provisions for Removal of Judges of High Court •Article 217 of the Indian Constitution provides for the removal of judges of a High Court. •A judge of a High Court can be removed from his office by an order of the President in the same manner as provided in Article 124 of the Constitution for the removal of a Supreme Court judge. •The President can issue the removal order only after an address by the Parliament has been presented to him in the same session for such removal. •The address must be supported by a special majority of each house of Parliament. Grounds for Removal The grounds for removal are two: •Proved misbehavior; or •Incapacity The Judges Enquiry Act (1968) regulates the procedure relating to the removal of a judge of a High Court by the process of impeachment. Procedure for Removal of Judges of High Court •A removal motion signed by 100 members (in the case of Lok Sabha) or 50 members (in the case of Rajya Sabha) is to be given to the Speaker/Chairman. •The Speaker/Chairman may admit the motion or refuse to admit it. •If it is admitted, then the Speaker/Chairman is to constitute a three-member committee to investigate the charges. •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. •If the committee finds the judge to be guilty of misbehavior or suffering from an incapacity, the House can take up the consideration of the motion. •After the motion is passed by each House of Parliament by a special majority, an address is presented to the President for removal of the Judge. •Finally, the president passes an order removing the Judge. Special Majority A majority of the total membership of that house and majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting. Issues in Removal of Judges •The procedure has been invoked since the beginning of the Constitution in 1950 only three times but, no judge has been successfully impeached to date. •The judges continue to hold the post till the charges are investigated against them. The act remains silent on whether a judge facing inquiry should recuse from judicial or administrative work. Other Bottlenecks •The impeachment process is time taking and procedure lengthy. •The words misbehavior and incapacity are not defined in the Constitution.

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