Team Anna's criticism of judicial accountability bill unfair: Khurshid | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Team Anna's criticism of judicial accountability bill unfair: Khurshid

delhi Updated: Apr 03, 2012 23:25 IST
PTI
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Against the backdrop of Team Anna finding loopholes in a bill on judicial accountability, government on Tuesday said there could not have been a "more "extensive measure" and termed as "unfair" the criticism for not going far enough on the issue.

Responding to a question on criticism by Team Anna that the case of a judge will be heard by a fellow judge under the provisions of the judicial standards and accountability bill, law minister Salman Khurshid told a press conference that peer judgements are acceptable.

"...I don't think we have arrived in this country at a conclusion that peer judgements are not to be accepted...I would respectfully ask them to read it a little carefully. There is both peer judgement and final pronouncement by the highest court of the land, which is Parliament," he said.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last week and would come up before the Rajya Sabha.

Khurshid said the "shortcomings" that were existing in the present system have been removed.

"The process also allows for recommendations for prosecution of a judge who is pronounced to be unfit for his office...I believe that there could not be anything more extensive and certainly more intrusive than this," he said.

Responding to the criticism, Khurshid said "if there will be criticism that you are going too far, I think it is unfair if somebody criticises us for not going far enough."

On the issue of government not bringing a constitutional amendment bill to increase the retirement age of high court judges for passage in Lok Sabha, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was also present along with Khurshid and home minister P Chidambaram, said the 114th constitutional amendment bill was taken up for discussion in the winter session of Parliament along with the judicial standards and accountability bill.

"We have repeatedly said that Constitutional amendment bills can only be passed if the Opposition extends support. Government has expressed its desire that it wants to bring the bill. If the Opposition does not pass it, we don't have the numbers to get it through," Bansal said.

The 114th constitution amendment bill seeks to raise the retirement age of high court judges from 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on a par with the retirement age of the Supreme Court judges.

Responding to questions on government's 'failure' to get the whistleblowers' bill and the BSF (amendment) bill passed in Rajya Sabha during first part of the budget session, Bansal said the Opposition raised objections despite the minister explaining the importance of the two bills.

"They had their own reasons that they thought the bills should not be passed then...bills are pending in the live register of the Rajya Sabha," he said.

In response to a question on electoral reforms, Khurshid said the plans of holding an all-party meet on the issue last year had to be postponed with parties busy with the lokpal bill.

He said once the Lokpal issue was resolved, government will concentrate on electoral reforms by holding an all-party meet.

On the passage of financial bill, Bansal said discussions on Demands for Grants will be guillotined on May 3 and the financial bill could be passed either on May 6 or 7.