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Bill to make judges accountable soon

The Judges (Inquiry) Bill provides for setting up a national council to probe any misconduct by a judge.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 14:58 IST

After much delay, a bill aimed at ensuring the accountability of judges is expected to be introduced in Parliament during the winter session beginning next month.

The Judges (Inquiry) Bill provides for setting up a National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe any misconduct by a judge of the Supreme Court or high courts.

The proposed law, which entails certain amendments to the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968, provides for a procedure under which any person can make a complaint to the NJC against judges except the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

The NJC will comprise the CJI, two senior-most judges of the apex court and two senior-most chief justices of the High Courts nominated by the CJI.

The bill provides for inquiries by the NJC in cases of complaints against a judicial officer, official sources said.

The bill was initially proposed to be introduced in Parliament in last year's winter session but this could not be done due to differing views in the judiciary.

Under the new law, a judge against whom prima facie evidence of an illegal act is found, would be asked not to attend courts pending an inquiry, the sources said.

If a judge is found guilty, he will be asked to put in his papers, failing which he will be removed, they said.

The proposed law will make it easier to take action against a judge found guilty, the sources said. At present, a complex and long-drawn process of impeachment is required to remove such a judge.