Cabinet divided over Judicial Bill, refers it to GoM

Last Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 20:19

New Delhi: Creation of a mechanism to hold
judges accountable for any of their misconduct will have to
wait further, as a much-delayed bill in this regard was not
approved on Monday by the Union Cabinet, which decided to refer it
to a Group of Ministers (GoM).

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 was
taken up at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh but there were deep differences over the issue.

Of the 90-minute Cabinet meeting, 45 minutes were spent
on discussing the issue after Home Minister P Chidambaram and
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, both lawyers, found flaws in the
Bill like the quantum of punishment for a judge if found
guilty of misconduct.

The Bill proposes that a judge can be warned, taken off
work, censured or admonished, depending upon the misconduct.
But if the violation is serious in nature, the judge can also
be impeached.

There was also disagreement on whether the Judges Enquiry
Act, 1968 should be repealed altogether as the proposed Bill
seeks to do.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily tried to convince them but
considering the differences of view, it was felt that further
deliberations should be held. In this regard, a decision was
taken to refer the bill to a GoM.

The Bill, in its present form, lays down a code to deal
with cases of corruption against judges of the Supreme Court
and the high courts. It also seeks to repeal the four
decade-old Judges Enquiry Act, 1968 which deals with the
process of impeachment of senior judges.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 20:19

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