The Supreme Court of India: Commotion at the Courts


What are the pillars of Democracy?

The 4 pillars of democracy (a free and fair state) are powerful, with each having a different responsibilities, so that all the power is not contained in one person or party’s hands.

These are:

  • The Executive (government): enforces the law
  • The Legislature (Parliament and State Assemblies): passes laws
  • The Judiciary (Supreme, High Courts): interprets the law
  • The Media (the press)

Who is the Chief Justice of India?

Judge Dipak Misra is the current Chief Justice of India.

Who selects the Chief Justice of India?

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court, when the current Chief Justice is retiring. The outgoing CJI recommends that senior judge, and the President of India appoints her/him as the CJI. The CJI holds this position until the age of 65, when she/he retires.

How can he or she be removed from Office?

It is not easy to remove the Chief Justice of India from Office. The CJI has to be impeached, which means that each House of Parliament (the Lok and Rajya Sabhas), have to agree to this idea. Not only do they have to agree to it, but a 2/3 majority in each House have to support it. This appeal is then passed on to the President of India, who can enforce it.

Why are we talking about the CJI and impeachment?

Last week, something unprecedented happened. 4 Judges from the Supreme Court held a press conference and told the people of India that the CJI has been giving particular cases to particular judges. What they mean to say, is that perhaps the CJI is being partial, and assigning particular cases to particular judges, to get particular outcomes. They mean to say that the system is in a state of corruption, with the Executive and/or the Legislature influencing the Judiciary. That doesn’t seem fair or impartial does it?

We don’t know if it’s true or not, but these 4 judges want the CJI to be brought to justice. It is pretty weird though that they have brought this to the press and the people, neither of whom have the power to impeach the Chief Justice of India! Let’s see what happens as this story unfolds.



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