SC Seeks AG’s Assistance On Plea Seeking Ban On Public Discussion On Impeachment Motion Against Judges [Read Petition]
A Supreme Court bench on Friday sought the assistance of Attorney General on a plea seeking ban on public discussions relating to impeachment motion against Judges.
Justices AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing a PIL seeking guidelines/ modalities to be laid down, in respect of regulating the procedure to be followed by the Members of the Parliament, desirous of initiating proceedings for removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, prior to initiating a motion under Article 124(4) and (5) and 217 (1)(b) of the Constitution of India and other consequent reliefs.
"Advocate Meenakshi Arora, learned senior counsel brought to our notice two judgments of this Court in C.Ravichandran Iyer vs. Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee & Ors. [1995 (5) SCC 457 and Sub-Committee on Judicial vs Union of India and Ors. [ 1991(4) SCC 699] and also drawn our attention to the provisions of Article 121 of the Constitution of India. In the matter like this we would like to have the assistance of Attorney General for India", said the bench.
The petition filed by NGO In Pursuit of Justice and Anr in the petition said;
"Mindful of the legislative competence of the parliamentarians to initiate the process of removal of a Judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court, the said process has to be within the framework of the Constitution of India. Article 124 of the Constitution of India r/w the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 lays down the clear procedure of such removal. However, there is res integra in the matter of the procedure to be followed, including restraint to be exercised by the prospective proposers of the motion while discussing, debating and deliberating matters which may eventually lead to the initiation of the said motion under the Constitutional procedure. Thus, the absence of such a regulation/restraint has resulted in a vigorous assault on the integrity and sanctity of the constitutional procedures, relating to such an important and sensitive matter"
The petitioners also submitted that the act of certain parliamentarians, although vested with the power of initiating the process for removal of a Judge; nevertheless, circulating, publishing and bringing in the public domain a draft motion for removal of a Judge is nothing less than intimidating and threatening the judiciary and amounts to interference in the effective administration of justice.
“The act of publicly brandishing their intention of mustering support of various political groups to initiate removal proceedings results in scandalising the courts and which is calculated to bring the courts of law into disrepute and to lower its authority and further to interfere with the due course of justice and the lawful process of the courts. Needless to say that scurrilous abuse of a Judge or Court or attacks on the personal character of a Judge is punishable contempt”
The Petitioners believe that if no remedial action is taken to arrest this completely malafide assault on the judiciary and if scurrilous and scandalous comments, especially of people who enjoy high places of respect in their areas of work is not stopped and punished, it will cause irreparable damage and injury to the independence of judiciary and administration of justice.
Lay down guidelines/modalities, regulating the procedure to be followed prior to initiating a motion under Article 124(4) and (5) and 217 (1)(b) of the Constitution of India as deemed appropriate by this Hon’ble Court or request the Hon’ble Law Commission to suggest appropriate guidelines.
Issue a writ of mandamus or an appropriate writ/order/ direction to Respondent nos. 1 and 2 to implement the guidelines as may be laid down by this Hon’ble Court in terms of aforesaid Prayer (A) in letter and spirit in order maintain independence of judiciary and preserve the sanctity of the Article 124.
Issue a writ of mandamus or an appropriate writ/order/ direction to Respondent no. 3 and 4 to issue necessary instructions to media (print and electronic) restraining them from publishing, broadcasting, printing, transmitting, circulating etc. any information relating to discussions and deliberations and other such issues in respect of which guidelines have been laid in terms of aforesaid Prayer (A).
Read the Petition Here