ON DECEMBER 5, 2016, JUSTICE C.V. NAGARJUNA Reddy of the High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana became the fifth judge in independent India against whom Members of Parliament resolved to begin impeachment proceedings; but he was the first against whom the process ended within 10 days of its commencement after one-third of the Rajya Sabha members withdrew their signatures, aborting the motion for want of the requisite numbers in the Upper House.
In India’s constitutional scheme of things, judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court enjoy complete independence to adjudicate “without fear or favour”. As per Article 124 (4) of the Constitution, the only way to remove a judge for “proven misbehaviour” is through an elaborate process of impeachment initiated by not less than 50 MPs of the Upper House or double that number in the Lok Sabha.
The process was first attempted in 1993 against Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court after an inquiry and adverse findings. The motion failed as Congress MPs present in the Lok Sabha abstained from voting, leading to a lack of a two-thirds majority favouring impeachment, which is another requirement under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution.
The allegations against Justice Nagarjuna Reddy, if true, are grave. One of them was that he interfered in the course of the judicial process, inc