Aam Aadmi Party MPs have started a signature campaign to initiate impeachment proceedings against Karnataka high court judge K L Manjunath, accusing him of corruption amounting and “misbehaviour”.
The Centre had recently turned down the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium to elevate Manjunath to the Punjab and Haryana high court as chief justice after a senior Supreme Court judge wrote a strongly-worded adverse note against him.
A Supreme Court or high court judge can be removed for ‘proven misbehaviour’ and a motion for removal of a judge has to be moved by either 100 Lok Sabha MPs or 50 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Four AAP Lok Sabha MPs — Dharam Vira Gandhi, Bhagwant Mann, Sadhu Singh and Harinder Singh Khalsa — have signed a notice of motion for presenting an address to the President as required under the Constitution.
“We expect MPs across party lines to sign it and we will pursue it seriously,” AAP leader and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan told HT.
The impeachment motion is likely to be presented to the President before the winter session of Parliament likely to commence in late November.
Major charges against Manjunath in the notice include possession of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income; hearing and deciding a petition in favour of a housing society in which his daughter owned a plot; and failing to declare his assets in violation of the Supreme Court’s Full Court Resolution of 1997.
If impeached, Justice Manjunath will be the first as till date no judge has been removed after the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.
The procedure for impeachment of an SC or HC judge in India is very cumbersome. A judge may be removed only through a motion in Parliament with two thirds support in each House.