Govt defends Judicial Accountability legislation

The Government on Friday sought to allay concerns that the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill may infringe on the freedom of judiciary.

“The provisions of the Bill do not in any way infringe on the independence of the judiciary which is the hallmark of the Indian democracy and is guaranteed under the Constitution,” the Ministry of Law and Justice stated in a release.

The release was issued a day after media reports quoted the Chief Justice of India, S H Kapadia, emphasising on the need of balancing accountability with judicial independence. The Centre, however, claimed that Kapadia’s remarks were misrepresented.

“At the same time, the attempt to link the Bill with independence of judiciary is not based on facts.”

“The accountability and independence can co-exist in a reinforcing mode, without affecting the functioning of the judiciary. The apprehensions expressed are then devoid of the understanding of the scheme of the Bill and the fact that it meets the aspirations of the people in a functioning democracy like India having a functioning judiciary,” the release stated.

The Government clarified that the Bill “sought to enforce standards of behaviour of the judges through declaration of assets by them.”

 It also stated that the Bill will provide a mechanism to help people in lodging complaints against erring judges.

“The Bill will establish the confidence and faith of the people in the judicial system without exposing them to unnecessary risk,” it said.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill was passed by Lok Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament this year. 

The Government on Friday also claimed that the Bill was prepared after extensive consultation with legal experts, eminent jurists and NGOs.

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