Cabinet divided over Judicial Bill, refers it to GoM
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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There was also disagreement on whether the Judges Enquiry Act, 1968 should be repealed altogether as the proposed Bill seeks to do.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.


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

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