Appointment and Removal of Judges of Supreme Court - Chief Justice of India, CJI Tenure | UPSC

By K Balaji|Updated : October 27th, 2022

Appointment of Judges of Supreme Court is discussed under Article 124 of the Indian Constitution. The SC Judges include the Chief Justice of India and up to seven more judges, until a larger number is prescribed by legislation by Parliament. The constitution discusses the Appointment and removal of Supreme Court Judge along with CJI tenure and other details.

The judiciary in India is divided into three levels: the Supreme Court, the High Court, and Subordinate or District Courts. The Constitution of the Republic of India designates the Supreme Court of India as the topmost court in the country. It is the most high-ranking constitutional court and has the last say in all cases—aside from those involving personal laws—as well as the authority to conduct judicial reviews. The Supreme Court of India, which has a capacity of 34 judges and has broad original, appellate, and advisory authorities, is led and presided over by the Chief Justice of India.

Table of Content

Appointment of Judges of Supreme Court

As per the Constitution of India, there is a set procedure that is followed during the appointment of the Supreme court Judge.

Appointment and Removal of Judges of Supreme Court PDF

  • Following consultation with Supreme Court judges and High Court judges the President may think essential for the occasion, the President shall appoint each judge of the Supreme Court by a warrant signed by him or her under his/her seal. An SC judge shall hold office until the age of 65.
  • According to the Supreme Court, the President is not required to consult with the Chief Justice. But the Court said that the dialogue had to be worthwhile.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India 1993 that the Chief Justice of India's opinion is enforceable on the President and that the CJI must contact 2 of the senior-most judges while giving the President advice.
  • The CJI is the only person with the power to start the appointment process for Supreme Court judges. In the event of a disagreement between CJI's viewpoint and the President's, CJI's viewpoint will take precedence.
  • The President requested the court's advice in July 1998 on fundamental questions pertaining to the nomination of Apex Court Judges and the transfer of High Court Judges.
  • In the 1993 case involving the recruitment and transfer opinions of judges, several questions regarding the consultation procedure to be used by the Chief Justice of India were clarified in the 11th Presidential Reference.
  • The gist of it is given below:
    • The CJI's view must be considered by the President when making judicial nominations.
    • The Government must abide by the CJI's judgement. A collegium comprising at least 4 of the most senior Supreme Court judges must be consulted in good faith before the Chief Justice of India formulates an opinion.
    • He shouldn't convey the suggestion to the Government even if 2 judges render a negative judgement.

Supreme Court Judge Eligibility

According to Article 124(3) of the Indian Constitution, a candidate must meet the following requirements to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of India:

  • He/she is an Indian citizen who has served as a judge on at least 2 separate high courts for at 5 years
  • Or as an advocate on at least 2 separate high courts for at least 10 years
  • Or who, in the President's view, is a renowned jurist.

Removal of a Supreme Court Judge

The Indian Constitution also lays out a set of guidelines for the removal of a Supreme Court judge. According to Article 124(4), the Supreme Court judge's removal rules are as follows:

  • A Supreme Court judge may only be removed from office by an order of the President issued after each House of Parliament passes an address supporting the removal on the grounds of proven inappropriate behavior or incapacity. It is to be presented to the President in the same session.
  • This address must be supported by a majority of the membership of that House as a whole and by a majority of at least 2/3rd of the representatives of that House present and voting.

The presenting of an address and the inquiry and proof of a judge's misconduct or incapacity under the prior Clause are both subject to legal regulation by Parliament.

  • According to Prof. Rumki Basu, the following constitutional requirements for determining the court's autonomy make it abundantly obvious that the judiciary is immune from executive or legislative intervention:

In the constitution itself, there are necessary preconditions for judges.

Once appointed, judges are eligible to serve for a full 65 years. They cannot be fired during their term unless misconduct or incapacity is proven.

The removal process is very challenging. Two-thirds of the members present and voting, as well as a majority of the members of both houses of parliament, are required for the motion to pass.

  • The Consolidated Fund of India [CFI] is used to pay for the salaries of the Supreme Court's judges and other administrative costs; these expenditures are not voted on by Parliament.
  • After retiring, Supreme Court justices are not permitted to represent themselves in court or before anybody within the boundaries of India.

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court hears appeals largely against decisions made by the High Courts of different states of India and other tribunals and courts as India's highest and most prominent constitutional court. It is necessary to protect citizens' fundamental rights and to resolve conflicts between various governmental entities, including those between the state governments and the national government or between states themselves. As an advisory court, it considers cases that the President of India may directly send to it for consideration under the Constitution.

All Indian courts at all levels, as well as the Union and State Governments, must abide by the Supreme Court's declaration of law. According to Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the inherent authority to issue any orders necessitated in the interest of justice, and it is the responsibility of the President of India to carry out those orders. Since January 28th, 1950, the Supreme Court has taken the position of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal.

Appointment of Judges- Collegium System of India

Collegium System of India is a system that is in charge of the appointment and transfer of judges in the country. The Three Judges Cases, a group of three decisions by Supreme Court judges that are together known as the Three Judges Cases, serve as the foundation for the Indian Judicial Collegium system, which assigns judges to the country's constitutional courts.

Three Judges’ Cases

Case

Year

Name

First Judges Case

1982

Union of India v.s S.P.Gupta

Second Judges Case

1993

Union of India v.s SCARA (Supreme Court Advocates- on Record Association)

Third Judges Case

1998

In re Special Reference

The SC collegium, which consists of the four senior-most judges of the court, is led by the CJI (Chief Justice of India).

  • The Chief Justice of an HC collegium, together with the four other senior judges of that court, serve as its leaders.
  • Only after receiving the CJI and SC collegium's approval do names proposed for appointment by an HC collegium reach the government.
  • Only the collegium system is used to nominate judges of the higher judiciary, and the government only becomes involved once the collegium has chosen names.

Chief Justice of India

The highest-ranking member of the Indian judicial branch is the chief justice of India, who also serves as head judge of the Supreme Court of India. According to the Indian Constitution, the president of India has the authority to choose the next chief justice, who could hold office until he or she turns 65 or is removed by impeachment after consulting with the outgoing chief justice. Conventionally, the second-oldest Supreme Court justice is nearly invariably the name that the current chief justice suggests.

  • However, this custom has twice been broken. Justice A. N. Ray was selected in 1973, replacing three senior judges.
  • In addition, Justice Hans Raj Khanna was replaced as chief justice in 1977 by Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg.

The chief justice, who serves as the top justice of the Supreme Court, is in charge of assigning cases to constitutional benches that engage with significant legal issues. In accordance with the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966 and Article 145 of the Indian Constitution, the Chief Justice assigns all work to the other judges, who are obligated to return the case to them (for re-allocation) in any instance where they feel it needs to be reviewed by a bench with more judges.

The chief justice oversees administrative tasks such as maintaining the roster, selecting court employees, and handling other general and unrelated issues pertaining to the management and operation of the Supreme Court.

U.U. Lalit is the 49th and current Chief Justice. On August 27, 2022, he took the oath of office as India's 49th Chief Justice.

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FAQs on Appointment and Removal of Judges of Supreme Court

  • After consulting with any judges of the Supreme Court and High Court of the States the President deems essential for the purpose, each judge of the Supreme Court must be nominated by the President by warrant bearing his or her signature and shall hold office until the age of 65.

  • The Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President by a warrant signed by him/her under his seal.

  • The Supreme Court of India, the highest judicial in the nation, currently consists of 29 judges (including the Chief Justice of India).

  • Once appointed, judges are eligible to serve for a full 65 years. They cannot be fired during their term unless misconduct or incapacity is proven.

  • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India is appointed by the President in consultation with the outgoing CJI. Appointment of acting Chief Justice is a Presidential power under Article 126 of the Constitution.

  • The first judge in independent India to face removal proceedings was Veeraswami Ramaswami, a judge on the Supreme Court of India. Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court is another judge facing removal procedures. On August 17, 2011, the Rajya Sabha began its investigation

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