Judicial Bill cleared in LS

The Lok Sabha on Thursday 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, Law aims to aid setting of new probity standards in higher judiciary. The bill seeks to establish credible and expedient mechanism for investigating 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 the president in relation to proceeding for removal of a judge and for matters connected with such matters. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2010 and was then sent to the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, law and justice, which made a crucial recommendation that seeks to ‘restrain’ judges from making “unwarrantedcomments” against other constitutional bodies or persons. According to the bill, any judge who makes oral comments against other constitutional authorities and individuals would render himself/herself 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 Supreme Court or the High Court. The minister said the bill aims at striking a balance between maximizing judicial independence and laying down accountability at the same time for members of the higher judiciary.

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