Tenure , Removal and Transfer of High Court Judges

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A High Court Judge is a well-known and esteemed lawyer who occupies a significant position in a nation or particular region’s court system. These judges are crucial in helping to understand and implement the law, uphold justice, and protect citizens’ rights and liberties. An overview of a High Court Judge’s duties and position sheds light on their vital contributions to the legal and judicial systems, tenure, removal and transfer of high court judges.

Duration of Judges
The duration of a high court judge’s appointment is not set forth in the Constitution. In this regard, it does, however, make the following four provisions:

  1. He serves in office until he is 62 years old. The president will decide any doubts about the man’s age after consulting with the top justice of India, and the president’s decision is definitive.
  2. He can submit a letter of resignation to the president.
  3. The President may, at the suggestion of the Parliament, remove him from his position.
  4. When he is appointed as a Supreme Court judge or when he is moved to another high court, he resigns from his position.

Elimination of Judges
A President’s order is necessary to remove a high court judge from their position. Only after receiving a request for such removal from the Parliament in the same session may the President issue the removal order. Each House of Parliament must support the address with a special majority (i.e., a majority of that House’s overall membership and a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting). The two reasons for removal are misbehavior and incapacity, which must be proven. A high court judge can be dismissed in the same way and for the same reasons as a justice of the Supreme Court.
The process for removing a judge from a high court through the impeachment process is governed by the Judges Enquiry Act (1968):

  1. The Speaker or Chairperson must be presented a motion for removal signed by 100 members (in the case of the Lok Sabha) or 50 members (in the case of the Rajya Sabha).
  2. The Speaker/Chairman has the option of allowing or rejecting the motion.
  3. If it is acknowledged, the Speaker or Chairman must appoint a three-person committee to look into the allegations.
  4. The committee should be made up of a judge or chief justice of the Supreme Court, a chief justice of another high court, and a renowned lawyer.
  5. The House may begin debating the motion if the committee determines that the judge acted inappropriately or is incompetent.
  6. After the motion has been approved by a special majority in each House of Parliament, the president is presented with an address calling for the judge to be dismissed.
  7. The president finally issues an order expelling the judge.
    The process for impeaching a judge of a high court is the same as that for a judge of the Supreme Court, as can be seen from the information provided above. It’s interesting to note that no high court judge has ever been impeached thus far.

Changing Judges
After consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the President has the authority to move a judge from one high court to another. He is entitled to earn a compensation stipend upon transfer in addition to his salary, as determined by Parliament.
The Supreme Court held in 1977 that the removal of high court justices may only be used as an extreme measure, only where it served the public interest, and never as a form of punishment. The Supreme Court ruled once more in 1994 that judicial review is essential to prevent justices being transferred arbitrarily. However, it can only be contested by the judge who is transferred.
In the Third Judges case (1998), the Supreme Court held that the Chief Justice of India should consult the chief justices of the two high courts (the one from which the judge is being transferred and the other receiving him) in addition to the collegium of the four senior most Supreme Court judges. As a result, the top justice of India’s lone view does not qualify as a “consultation” procedure.

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