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`Bill not to undermine independence of judiciary`

Last Updated: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 23:53

New Delhi: The Law Ministry today came out in defence of a bill which seeks to lay judicial standards, saying attempts to link the measure with the independence of judiciary is not based on facts.

Referring to the remarks of Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia that government should not tinker with independence of judiciary, the ministry said his statement has been "twisted and not seen and interpreted in full context."

The statement from the Law Ministry came a day after Law Minister Salman Khurshid said judicial freedom was paramount and a proposed law on judicial accountability will not undermine it.

"The government may make law for making judges accountable. We are not afraid of that. But it should not tinker with the very constitutional principle of judicial independence," Justice Kapadia had said on Wednesday.

The statement of the Law Ministry said, "The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has been prepared after holding wide ranging consultations...The provisions of the Bill do not in any way infringe on the independence of the judiciary which is hallmark of Indian democracy and which is guaranteed under constitution.

"The accountability and independence can co-exist in a reinforcing mode and without affecting the working of the judiciary," it said.

A controversial clause in the Bill which has come under criticism of top jurists states: "No judge shall make unwarranted comments against the conduct of any constitutional or statutory institution or officials at the time of hearing matters in open courts during the course of hearing matters."

Khurshid has already said he would approach the Cabinet to remove the clause. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha.


First Published: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 23:53
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