Govt to 'update' law governing judges' selection

Govt to 'update' law governing judges' selection

Comprehensive plan soon to deal with complaints of corruption charges

Govt to 'update' law governing judges' selection

Addressing a press conference in connection with a two-day meet here on strengthening of judiciary and pendency starting October 24, Moily said the government intends to come out with a comprehensive plan to deal with complaints of corruption charges.
He, however, refused to be drawn into a discussion on Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran whose elevation to the Supreme Court has been kept in abeyance over allegations of landgrabbing.

“Already there is a memorandum of procedure (on appointment of judges) which we are going by as of today. I am not reiterating that the same thing will continue. May be, we have to revisit the procedure. Whatever we do, we need to take the judiciary into full confidence,” he said.

Moily said the “independence of judiciary without accountability has no meaning, no significance and there is need to resurrect its credibility”. He was replying to a question whether the Government was contemplating making changes in the procedures for such appointments.

The minister referred to the 1993 and 1998 decisions of the apex court which led to the Memorandum of Procedures relating to Supreme Court Collegium that appoints judges to the higher judiciary.

He said the judges will have to follow the laid down standards and “respond to the ethics and become accountable to the judiciary and the nation”.

The Supreme Court had laid down a code of procedure in 1997 (to deal with conduct of judges). “But there was no statute to enforce it...with happenings around we need to resurrect the credibility and reputation of judiciary in the country,” he said.

The minister indicated that a comprehensive bill to deal with corruption complaints against judges of the higher judiciary may be tabled by the Government in the winter session of Parliament commencing on November 19.

“The Judges Inquiry Bill 1968 deals only with the impeachment process of judges and nothing else. There are complaints and complaints of corruption (against judges). We are thinking that it should be replaced by a comprehensive Judges Standards and Accountibility Bill. We hope it will come in the Winter Session of Parliament,” he said.
To a poser on whether the government plans to “update”the 1968 Act, he said “we intend to repeal it and bring out a comprehensive bill” which will be brought before the Union Cabinet in the next few days. He stressed that impeachment of judges was the “sovereign right” of Parliament and it would continue even after the new bill comes into force.

Moily said commercial courts would be established in every high court to try cases of high value of Rs 2 crore and above. This will reduce pendency of such cases, he said and added: “making business in India has become a hurdle because of pendencyof such cases. Because of this, government’s revenue is stuck”. A Bill in this regard would  be passed in the winter session, he added.