Controversial clause to go from judicial standards bill
New Delhi: Facing objections from jurists, government has decided to drop a controversial clause in a bill on judicial standards which debars judges from making verbal comments against any constitutional authority in open courts.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday that he would "go back to the Cabinet" with the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill with some "minor amendments."
Refusing to specify the proposed amendments, he said several top jurists have objected to "one or two provisions" in the Bill.
"If we are doing something good, we should not lose its sheen by even a marginal controversial provision," he told reporters.
He said the amendments were more like cleaning up of text and were more "cosmetic" in nature.
The Bill, already passed by Lok Sabha, is pending in Rajya Sabha.
It allows the citizens to complain against corrupt judges, but has been facing criticism for this provision which jurists says would "virtually gag" the judges in open courts.
The clause 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."
This particular clause was recommended by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice in November last and was included in the bill passed by the Lok Sabha on March 30.
Once the amendments are cleared by the Cabinet, it will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha after its passage in the Upper House.