Former CJI expresses resentment over Judicial Bill

The former CJI JS Verma said judges alone are not to be blamed for any instance of corruption in the judiciary.

New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India JS Verma on Friday expressed his resentment over the proposed law for accountability of higher judiciary saying he felt "demeaned and insulted".

"I am demeaned and insulted that a law is needed to regulate our (judiciary`s) action," Justice Verma said, while referring to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill. He said "self-regulation" is the only reform needed to regulate the functioning of the judiciary.

"Preservation of values is the only reform needed" and warned the judiciary that "if self-regulation is not done by you (judiciary), it will be done by someone else (for you)," Justice Verma, who was speaking at a convention on Rule of Law here, said.

Referring to the bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is awaiting the nod of the Rajya Sabha,, the former CJI said the Constitution makers had never thought of setting up a law to regulate the working of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

He said "the public should come to us (the courts), not because we are less tainted than the others (legislature or executive), but because we are the best".

"It is the only way to "ensure that the purpose for which the judiciary was set up is met," he said.

The bill seeks to lay down judicial standards, provide for accountability of judges, and establish mechanisms for investigating individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts and also provides a mechanism for the removal of judges.

Justice Verma said any complaint lodged against the judge under the proposed law would have detrimental effect as public confidence will be lost in the judge who may eventually come out clean of the charges of misbehaviour or incapacity.

"Once you castigate a judge publicly, who is going to believe him or have confidence in him thereafter?"

"Let the Chief Justice of India be made responsible for conduct of the judges, add this clause (in the bill)," he said.

The former CJI said judges alone are not to be blamed for any instance of corruption in the judiciary. "Unless there is corrupt lawyer, there cannot be a corrupt judge," he added.


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