Procedure for Appointment of Chief Justice of India and Judge of Supreme Court
In the appointment of the Chief Justice of India, the Commission shall recommend for appointment of the senior-most Judge appointment of of the Supreme Court as the Chief Justice of India , if he is considered fit to hold the office. Provided that, a India and Judge member of the Commission whose name is being considered for recommendation shall not participate in the meeting. For the appointment of judge of Supreme Court the Commission shall, on the basis of ability, merit and any other criteria of suitability as may be specified by regulations, recommend the name for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court from amongst persons who are eligible to be appointed as such under Clause (3) of Article 124 of the Constitution: Provided that, while making the recommendation for appointment of a High Court Judge, apart from seniority, the ability and merit of such Judge shall be considered: Provided further that, the Commission shall not recommend a person for appointment, if any two members of the Commission do not agree for such recommendation. The Commission may, by regulations, specify such other procedure and conditions for selection and appointment of a judge of the Supreme Court as it may consider necessary.
Power of President to require reconsideration under NJAC
The President shall, on the recommendations made by the Commission, appoint the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court or, as the case may be, the Chief Justice of a High Court or the Judge of a High Court: Provided that the President if considers necessary, require the Commission under N.JAC to reconsider, either generally or otherwise, the recommendation made by it: Provided further that if the Commission makes a recommendation after reconsideration in accordance with the provisions contained in secs 5 or 6 , the president shall make the appointment accordingly.
Now, with enforcement of the Constitutional (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 w.e.f. 13.04.2015, the political class and civil society have an equal voice, along with the judiciary, in the appointments and transfer of judges in the highest judiciary.
Qualifications for appointment as judge
A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Qualifications for Supreme Court unless he is (a) a citizen of India; and appointment as (b) either—(i) a distinguished jurist; or (ii) has been a Judge. High Court Judge for at least 5 years; or (iii) has been an Advocate of a High Court (or two or more such Courts in succession) for at least 10 years [Art. 124(3)].
Tenure of Judges
No minimum age is prescribed for appointment as a Judge of the Tenure of Judges. Supreme Court, nor any fixed period of office. Once appointed, a Judge of the Supreme Court may cease to be so, on the happening of any one of the following contingencies (other than death):
(a) On attaining the age of 65 years; (b) On resigning his office by writing addressed to the President; (c) On being removed by the President upon an address to that effect being passed by a special majority of each House of Parliament [viz., a majority of the total membership of that House and by majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting).
The only grounds upon which such removal may take place are (1) ‘proved misbehaviour’ and (2) ‘incapacity’. In Art. 124(4) of the Constitution ‘misbehaviour’ means wrong conduct or improper conduct. Every act or conduct or error of judgment or negligence by a Constitutional authority person does not amount to misbehaviour. Misconduct implies a creation of some degree of mens rea by the doer. Wilful abuse of constitutional office, wilful misconduct in the office, corruption, lack of integrity or any other offence involving moral turpitude would be ‘misbehaviour’.
Impeachment of a Judge
The combined effect of Art. 124(4) and the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 is that the following procedure is to be observed Judge men a for removal of a Judge. This is commonly known ’ as impeachment—
(1) A motion addressed to the President signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha is delivered to the Speaker or the Chairman.
(2) The motion is to be investigated by a Committee of three Judges of the Supreme Court and a distinguished jurist).
(3) If the Committee finds the Judge guilty of misbehaviour or that he suffers from incapacity the motion (para 1, above) together with the report of the Committee is taken up for consideration in the House where the motion is pending.
(4) If the motion is passed in each House by majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of that House present and voting the address is presented to the President.
(5) The Judge will be removed after the President gives his order for removal on the said address.
The procedure for impeachment is the same for judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. After the Constitution this procedure was started against SHRI R. RAMASWAMY in 1991-93. The Committee found the Judge guilty. In the Lok Sabha the Congress Party abstained from voting and so the motion could not be passed with requisite majority.
A Judge of the Supreme Court gets a salary of Rs 90,000 per mensem and the use of an official residence free of rent. The salary of the Chief Justice is Rs.1,00,000.
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