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Reining in tainted judges

The Centre is considering a law to ensure that judges facing charges of corruption and judicial misconduct are not able to continue in office.

delhi Updated: Feb 01, 2010 00:11 IST
Satya Prakash

The Centre is considering a law to ensure that judges facing charges of corruption and judicial misconduct are not able to continue in office.

Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Sunday said the government would introduce the Judges Standards and Accountability Bill and the Women’s Reservation Bill in the next session of Parliament.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Cyber Law Enforcement Programme and National Consultation Meeting here.

Moily said the Judges Standards and Accountability Bill, intended to replace the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, would ensure that judges under any suspicion of corruption and judicial impropriety are not elevated to higher courts.

“With the help of the bill on judges’ accountability, we will ensure no tainted judge gets promoted,” the minister said. “Even the slightest needle of suspicion will lead to stalling his or her promotion further.”

Moily refused to give details of the proposed law but hinted that there would be provisions other than impeachment to punish erring judges.

The move comes amid the controversy over allegations of land grabbing against Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and the impeachment proceedings against him.

The Centre had also been embarrassed over a bill on declaration of assets by judges last year.

Moily had then said he would bring in a new law after consulting all political parties. However, instead of going for a standalone bill on judges’ assets, the government is opting for a comprehensive bill that would replace the Judges (Inquiry) Act and give statutory backing to the 1997 resolution on assets declaration passed by the full Supreme Court.

Asked if the government was contemplating amending the Right to Information Act as suggested by Attorney General GE Vahanvati, Moily said the proposal was being considered by the department of personnel and training.

He hastened to add that it had nothing to do with the Delhi High Court’s verdict bringing the Chief Justice of India’s office within the ambit of the RTI. He said the government was also examining similar provisions in other countries.

He also talked of the government’s plan to introduce what he called “second-generation reforms in legal education” in April 2010.

Earlier, at the inaugural function, Moily said he favoured the creation of a specialised agency to deal with cyber crimes.