The cabinet is expected to take up on Thursday a controversial Bill that seeks to allow for the first time the citizens to complain against corrupt judges. The complainant, however, will have to reveal the source of information.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, has been listed as the 12th item in the agenda note for the cabinet meeting.
The law ministry wants to replace the four-decade-old Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, with the proposed law, but it remains to be seen what view the cabinet takes on the issue.
Among the provisions likely to raise eyebrows are Section 34 of the Bill, which gives government the effective control in dealing with serving and retired judges, found guilty of involvement in corruption and other acts of misbehaviour.
“If the Oversight Committee is satisfied that there has been a prime facie commission of offence by a judge, it may recommend to the Centre for prosecution of the judge in accordance with the law for the time being in force,” states Section 34 (2) of the new Bill.
Similarly, chapter II of the Bill, which makes it mandatory for the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts to follow the code of conduct, is likely to anger the higher judiciary.
The proposed Bill has laid down 14 guidelines for judges, to be known as judicial standards. “No judge shall give an interview to the media in relation to any of his judgement delivered, or order made, or direction issued by him in any case adjudicated by him,” states the chapter II.
“No judge shall enter into a public debate or express his views in public on political matters, except views expressed by a judge in his individual capacity on issues of public interest, other than as a judge during a private discussion or at an academic forum,” says the Bill.