With the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill lapsing, the government on Thursday indicated that a fresh bill could be brought to change the present system of probing complaints of misbehaviour and incapacity against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
“The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has lapsed... We are working on it,” law minister DV Sadananda Gowda said in the Lok Sabha, in an indication that the proposed legislation could be brought afresh.
He said any decision will be taken “after taking suggestions from stakeholders.”
Gowda was responding to questions on judiciary, including the pending cases, allegations of corruptions against judges and lack of transparency in their appointment.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill moved by the previous UPA government had lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
Though the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in March, 2012, it had undergone changes in the Rajya Sabha following protests by the judiciary and jurists who had questioned some of its provisions.
The lapsed bill provided for a comprehensive mechanism for handling complaints made by citizens on grounds of alleged misbehaviour and incapacity against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
It also provided for a mechanism to take action against those found guilty after investigation. It also laid down judicial standards and made it incumbent on the judges to declare their assets and liabilities.
Referring to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, Gowda said “a broad-based participative and transparent mechanism” for appointment of judges in the High Courts and Supreme Court was created but it was struck down by the Supreme Court.