Move to remove India’s Chief Justice

A group of political parties have come together to push for the removal of the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. The move has been rejected by the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu but the fight seems far from over. The Chief Justice is the highest ranked judge in India and heads the Supreme Court which is based in Delhi.

Last Friday, 64 Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to seven political parties including the Congress, signed the notice that calls for removal of the Chief Justice. They want Dipak Misra removed for the reason that the judge did not decide on certain cases in a fair or correct manner. The MPs seeking his removal also believe that Misra put important cases in the charge of certain judges so as to influence the outcome (result).

How can one remove the Chief Justice?

It’s not that easy and a long process is detailed in the Constitution of India.  The Constitution is the rule book according to which the country is run.

  1. First a notice for removal has to be signed by at least 100 MPs of the Lok Sabha or 50 MPs of the Rajya Sabha (The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are the two Houses of India’s Parliament)
  2. It has to be submitted to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha (who is the Vice President of India).
  3. If the notice is admitted, a panel of three persons checks the charges made against the Chief Justice
  4. Based on the report of the panel, the two Houses of Parliament have to approve the removal of the Chief Justice-this can only happen if the majority (large share) of the MPs vote to remove the Chief Justice
  5. Once this is done, the President can remove the Chief Justice.

This is the first time an attempt has been made to remove the Chief Justice. With the Vice President shooting down the removal notice (Step 2), it remains to be seen if the Congress and its supporters decide to try other tactics to get the Chief Justice removed!