V. Ramaswami

V. Ramaswami
Judge of Supreme Court of India
In office
6 October 1989  14 February 1994
Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court
In office
12 November 1987  6 October 1989
Nominated by Debi Singh Tewatia
Appointed by Shanti Sarup Dewan
Personal details
Born (1929-02-15)15 February 1929

V. Ramaswami was the Justice of the Supreme Court of India and the first judge against whom impeachment proceedings were initiated in independent India. The only other judge to face impeachment proceedings is Justice "Soumitra Sen" of Calcutta High Court, proceedings against whom were initiated in Rajya Sabha on 17 August 2011. Another such motion was initiated against Chief Justice Dinakaran of Sikkim High Court who then resigned from his post.

Early life and education

Ramaswami was born on 15 February 1929. He spent his school years in Hindu High School in Srivilliputhur. He was educated in The American College in Madurai and received a degree in Law from Madras Law College.[1]

Professional career

He began his career by practising both civil and criminal law at the Madras High Court. He was appointed permanent Judge of the Madras High Court from 31 January 1971. He was later transferred and appointed Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 12 November 1987. At the height of his career, he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court on 6 October 1989 from which he retired on 14 February 1994.[1]

Impeachment proceedings


A scandal surfaced in the middle of year 1990 when several media outlets reported about his ostentatious expenditure on his official residence during his tenure as a Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana. In a serious turn of events, on 1 February 1991, Supreme Court Bar Association passed a resolution calling for his impeachment and requesting Chief justice not assign him any further legal work. Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties submitted a notice of motion to the Indian Parliament seeking his removal from office.

Accepting the motion on 12 March 1991, Speaker Rabi Ray constituted a committee composed of Justice P B Sawant of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice P D Desai of the Bombay High Court and Justice O Chinnappa Reddy, retired judge of the Supreme Court to investigate the affair. The committee found Ramaswami guilty of 11 out of 14 charges.

Impeachment in the Lok Sabha (failed)

The impeachment motion was placed in the assembly for debate and voting on 10 May 1993. Well known lawyer and a Congress politician Kapil Sibal was his defence lawyer.[2] Of 401 members present in the assembly that day, there were 196 votes for impeachment and no votes against and 205 abstentions by ruling Congress and its allies. The motion which required not less than two third majority of the total number of members present in both houses of the Parliament and an absolute majority of its total membership thus failed to pass.[3][4][5]

The said decision was challenged before the Supreme Court and they upheld the decision of the Parliament.

1999 Lok Sabha election

He contested from Sivakasi constituency as an Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) candidate in 1999 election against Vaiko from Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Thamaraikani from ADMK who was expelled from the party contested as an independent.[6] He lost the election to Vaiko though he secured 32.21% of the votes. Vaiko received 41.8% and Thamaraikani 4.74% of the votes.[7]

See also


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