Cabinet clears bill on judicial transparencyOctober 5th, 2010 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) The union cabinet Tuesday approved the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, aimed at enhancing transparency in judiciary.
The decision to approve the bill was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the bill provides a mechanism for inquiring into complaints against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts and lays down standards for judges of higher judiciary.
She added that the proposed law also requires the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts to declare their assets.
The bill seeks to replace the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, while retaining its basic features, Soni said.
The enactment of the bill will address growing concerns regarding the need to ensure greater accountability of higher judiciary by bringing in more transparency and would strengthen the credibility and independence of judiciary.
The proposed law envisages formation of an Apex Oversight Judicial Committee (AOGC) headed by a former chief justice of India, with th attorney general being its ex-officio member.
The five-member oversight committee will also have one sitting Supreme Court judge and one serving high court judge nominated by the chief justice of India.
The panel will also have an eminent person nominated by the president. The oversight committee will be empowered to receive complaints against any sitting judge of higher judiciary.
It will be the authority to appoint a scrutiny panel in the Supreme Court or a high court to investigate the allegations contained in the complaint.
The complaint scrutiny panel will function at the level of both the high court and the Supreme Court.
The panel will be required to give its report to the oversight committee within three months following which the committee will decide, depending on the gravity of charges, whether to warn the erring judge or ask him to step down.
In case an erring judge refuses to step down as per oversight committee recommendations, then the committee would further seek investigation into charges against the judge by another panel, and depending upon the report of the second inquiry committee, further action will be recommended by the oversight panel.
Tags: accountability bill, ambika soni, cabinet meeting, chief justice of india, eminent person, ex officio member, high courts, inquiry act, judicial committee, judicial standards, judiciary, manmohan, manmohan singh, oct 5, oversight committee, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, scrutiny panel, supreme court judge, union cabinet