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Empower judicial panel: Bar Council

Bar Council of India has demanded that the proposed NJC should be a broad-based body with powers to appoint, transfer and remove judges, besides dealing with their misconduct.
By Satya Prakash | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 11, 2008 12:15 AM IST

As the Government prepares to introduce the Judges (Inquiry) Bill in Parliament during the upcoming Monsoon Session, Bar Council of India has demanded that the proposed National Judicial Council (NJC) should be a broad-based body with powers to appoint, transfer and remove judges, besides dealing with their misconduct.

In an exclusive interview to HT, BCI Chairman SNP Sinha said the NJC should include the Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajya Sabha Chairman, leader of Opposition, Law Minister and a nominee of the BCI chief to make it broad-based and transparent.

"If you include only judges in the council, it would be no better than the present system of collegium, which has led to decline in the quality of appointments," he said. The proposed NJC, comprising the CJI, two SC judges and two HC chief justices, is to have powers to act on complaints against errant judges, but can’t appoint judges.

However, Sinha pointed out that the main problem lies in the present system of appointment introduced in 1993 after the SC arrogated to itself all the powers regarding appointment of judges.

"India is the only country in the world where judges appoint judges. This needs to be changed and pre-1993 position restored where the Executive had a say in the appointment of judges," he said. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and a parliamentary panel had earlier expressed similar views.

Maintaining that the Bill prepared by the NDA government was broad-based and included eminent people from other organs of the State, he said, “we need to introduce checks and balances in the system as the impeachment procedure has proved to be a complete failure.”
The BCI Chairman, however, welcomed the provision enabling the common man to file his complaint against a deviant judge.

Asked if corruption in judiciary was possible without the involvement of some deviant lawyers, he said, “there could be such cases but then you have a forum (Bar Council) to lodge complaints against advocates and we do take action against those found guilty. In case of judges, there is no such body,” he added.

Favouring a uniform retirement age of 65 for judges, he said they should not accept any post-retirement assignments. But the government should give them decent benefits, he added.

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