12 May, 2021

Obfuscated At Stage One

The RS chair seems to have put the cart before the horse

Obfuscated At Stage One

It isn’t that there is lack of clarity on the proceedings for the removal of a Supreme Court judge in our country. The moot point in the present controversy around a move to impeach CJI Dipak Misra is over the handling of its first step. That is, whether the motion seeking action on the pertinent misconduct must itself categorically state the overall grounds for it and come up with the entire evidence.

Now, how exactly does such an impeachment work? Well, it has four key steps. The first is for MPs to draft a motion for the removal (under Article 124[4]of the Constitution) alleging misbehaviour or incapacity and introduce it in any House of Parliament. The second is the formation of an enq­uiry committee under Article 124(5) in accordance with the Judges Enquiry Act, 1968. It is at this stage the charges are framed—after documents are sought, witnesses summoned and the affected judge cross-examined.

Thirdly, the enquiry committee’s report is placed before the presiding officer of either House of Parliament. If it shows proof to the...

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