Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lok Sabha clears judicial accountability bill

The Lok Sabha on March 29th cleared the judicial accountability legislation that seeks to set up a credible mechanism to probe complaints of misbehaviour by judges.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, and Constitutional 114th Amendment Bill, 2010, will help setting new probity standards in higher judiciary.
The bill seeks to establish credible and expedient mechanism for probing into individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court.
It also provides to regulate the procedure for such investigation and for the presentation of an address by Parliament to President proceeding for removal of a judge and for matters connected with such matters.
The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2010 and subsequently sent to the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, law and justice, which made a crucial recommendation that seeks to "restrain" judges from making "unwarranted comments" against other constitutional bodies or persons.
According to the bill, any judge, who makes oral comments against other constitutional authorities and individuals, would render h/himself liable for judicial misconduct.
Making a brief reply on the bill, law minister Salman Khurshid said the legislation seeks to set up a mechanism to inquire into complaints against a judge of the SC or the HC. The minister said the bill aims at striking a balance between maximizing judicial independence and laying down accountability for members of the higher judiciary. Khurshid said, "The passage of this bill shall be a major achievement in establishing systems and procedures which will be far superior and practicable to that provided for in the Judges Enquiry Act."


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