Impeachment of Judges of Supreme Court
Article 124(4): A judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a major¬ity of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House Present and voting has been presented to the president in same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. Clause (5)-Parliament may by law regulate the procedure for the presentation of an address and for the investigation and proof of the misbehaviour or incapacity of a Judge under Clause (4). Prof. Rumki Basu argues that the constitutional provisions for enquiring the independence of the judiciary make it amply clear that the Judiciary is beyond executive or legislative interference as stated in the following:
- Judges are appointed by the president. Minimum qualifications are prescribed in the constitution itself.
- Once appointed, the judges can hold office until the complete 65 years. They cannot be removed during their tenure except on proved misbehaviour or incapacity. The procedure for removal is too difficult. The motion has to be passed by a majority of the total members of both houses of Parliament and two third of the members present and voting.
- The salaries of the Judges and the administrative expenses of the Supreme Court are charged on the CFI and are not subjected to the vote of Parliament.
- Judges of the Supreme Court cannot plead or act in any court or before any authority within the territory of India after retirement.
- According to Granville Austin, the constituent Assembly pondered at great length over the issue of independence of the court and two other related issues the powers of the Supreme Court and scope of judicial reviews. It was felt that if the institution of the judiciary was to remain strong it must be free from coercion and political influence.
- To maintain the Supremacy of the constitution there must be an impartial and independent authority to decide dispute between centre and States. It is final interpreter and guardian of the constitution.
- Supreme Court is also the guardian of the Fundamental Rights of the people.
- It is also the highest and final interpreter of the general law of the country.
- It is the highest court of appeal in civil and criminal matters.