Judicial Accountability Bill passed in Lok Sabha

Judicial Accountability Bill passed in Lok Sabha

A judge who makes oral comments against another constitutional authority or individuals, would be liable for “judicial misconduct” under a Bill passed in Lok Sabha on Thursday dealing with complaints against Supreme Court and High Court judges.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, which was introduced in December, 2010 was brought to the Lower House with fresh amendments in December last year, including one which seeks to restrain judges from making “unwarranted comments” against conduct of any Constitutional authority.

According to the revised bill, any judge who makes oral comments against other constitutional authorities and individuals would render himself/herself liable for judicial misconduct.

Making a brief reply amid pandemonium to the debate on the Bill which took place during the Winter Session, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the legislation seeks to set up a mechanism to inquire into complaints against a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court. He said the bill aims at striking a balance between maximising judicial independence and laying down accountability at the same time for members of the higher judiciary.

In his detailed reply tabled in the House amid din over Telangana, Khurshid said “the passage of this Bill shall be a major achievement in establishing systems and procedures which will be far superior and practicable to that provided for in the Judges Enquiry Act.”

Khurshid referred to some members raising the issue regarding appointment of judges and said the current system of selection of judges has been mandated by the Supreme Court in its judgement.

“The executive endorses the recommendations made by the Collegium both at the level of the High Courts as well as the Supreme Court. This system which deprives the executive in having meaningful participation and sharing information in its possession needs to be reformed,” Khurshid said.