Move to revive bill on probe against judges

Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs  | Deccan Chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill was brought by UPA govt but had lapsed following dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is learnt to be thinking of bringing afresh a bill that seeks to change the present system of probing complaints of “misbehaviour and incapacity” against Supreme Court and high court judges.

The government wants to bring afresh the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, that was brought earlier by the previous United Progressive Alliance government, but lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

“A mandate to inculcate independence, impartiality and accountability among judges should be considered without delay. This could be done by reintroducing a modified Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill,” according to a note issued by the law ministry.

Responding to a Lok Sabha question in December last year, law minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had said: “The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has lapsed. We are working on it.”

He had said any decision will be taken “after taking suggestions from stakeholders”.

While the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in March 2012, it had undergone changes in the Rajya Sabha after protests by the judiciary and jurists who questioned some of its provisions.

Judicial accountability committee to be set up
The law ministry note, prepared for the 9th meeting of the advisory council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms to be held here later this month, states a new Judicial Stand-ards and Accountab-ility Bill could be further strengthened.

It says a National Judicial Oversight Committee for Judicial Accountability could be set up comprising the Chief Justice of India, representing the judiciary, the law minister, and an eminent person representing civil society. The panel could then develop its own procedures and make rules for creation of similar structures at the state level as well.