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Explain the procedure for removing a judge of the Supreme Court ?

In India, the procedure for removing a judge of the Supreme Court is laid down in the Constitution under Article 124(4) and Article 124(5). The process is elaborate and is designed to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. The removal process is as follows:

1. Impeachment Motion: The process of removing a Supreme Court judge begins with an impeachment motion. This motion can be initiated in either of the two houses of Parliament – the Lok Sabha (Lower House) or the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The motion must be signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha.

2. Committee Investigation: After the motion is submitted, it is then referred to a specially constituted committee for investigation. The committee usually consists of three members – the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or a judge of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice or a judge of a High Court, and an eminent jurist.

3. Inquiry and Report: The committee conducts an inquiry into the allegations made in the motion. It gives the judge in question an opportunity to present his/her case and defend against the charges. The committee then submits its report to the Parliament.

4. Parliamentary Approval: Once the committee submits its report, the motion is taken up for discussion and voting in the house where it was initiated (either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha). A majority of the total membership of that house and a two-thirds majority of those present and voting are required to pass the motion.

5. Second House Approval: If the motion is passed by the house where it was initiated, it is then sent to the other house (i.e., if the motion was initiated in Lok Sabha, it goes to Rajya Sabha, and vice versa). The second house also needs to pass the motion with the same majority requirements as mentioned earlier.

6. Presidential Assent: After both houses of Parliament have passed the motion, it is presented to the President of India for his/her assent. Upon receiving the President’s assent, the judge is removed from office.

It’s important to note that the Constitution of India provides a safeguard to ensure that the process is not misused for frivolous or politically motivated reasons. The removal of a judge through this process requires substantial evidence of “proved misbehavior” or “incapacity” that is considered grave enough to warrant their removal from the esteemed position.

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