Q. Explain the impeachment process of a Supreme Court Judge in India.


Note: this post is a part of our important question answer series on Constitutional Law. You can read other questions by clicking here.



The Constitution under Article 124(4) has provided for the impeachment of Supreme court judges on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity but the Constitution has not given any mandate till date as to what constitutes ‘misbehavior’ or ‘incapacity’. But it is absolute that no judge can be removed from his office on any extraneous grounds.

The procedure for removal of the Supreme Court judge is guided by Article 124(4) of the Constitution of India and the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968. We can divide the process in following steps:


I.                   Notice of motion for removal of a judge

Removal proceedings against a Supreme Court or a High Court judge can be initiated in any of the houses of Parliament. For this:

A.  A minimum of 100 members of Lok Sabha may give a signed notice to the speaker, or

B.  A minimum of 50 members of Rajya Sabha may give a signed notice to the Chairman.

The speaker or chairman may consult individuals and examine relevant content related to notice and according to that, he or she may decide to either admit or refuse to admit it.


II.                Constitution of an Inquiry Committee:

After the motion is admitted, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha will form an Inquiry Committee as per Article 3(2) of the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 to start investigating the complaint. It will consist of the following members:

A.  A Supreme Court judge,

B.  A High Court Chief Justice, and

C.  A distinguished jurist, as per the opinion of the Speaker/Chairman.


III.             Submission of the inquiry report:

After concluding its investigation, the Inquiry Committee will put down its findings in a formal report and submit it to the Speaker or Chairman. If the report finds misbehavior or incapacity which makes the judge guilty, the motion for removal has to be put to vote in both The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. As per Article 124(4) of the Constitution, the motion is required to be adopted in each house by:

A.  A majority of the total membership of the House, and

B.  A majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting.

If the motion is adopted by this majority in one house, the motion will be sent to the other house. The same procedure is followed in the other house as well.


IV.              Order by the President

As per Article 124(4), after the motion is adopted in both the houses by the required majority, it is placed before the President of India, who will issue an order for the removal of the judge. As soon as president sign the order, the concern judge shall be removed from the office with the immediate effect.



I.                     No judge of the Supreme Court has been removed from his office so far.

II.                   Impeachment motions of Justice V Ramaswami (1991-1993) and Justice Dipak Mishra (2017-2018) were defeated in the Parliament.


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