The Narendra Modi government is planning to bring a bill which seeks to change the present system of probing complaints of “misbehavior and incapacity” against judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill was earlier brought by the previous UPA government but had lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014. The new bill will be a changed version of this.
“A mandate…to inculcate independence, impartiality and accountability among judges should be considered without delay. This could be done by reintroducing a modified Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill,” a Law Ministry note says.
The ministry note, prepared for the 9th meeting of the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms to be held in New Delhi this month, states that the new Bill could be further strengthened.
Though the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill were 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 its certain provisions. The lapsed bill provided for a comprehensive mechanism for handling complaints made by citizens on grounds of alleged misbehavior 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.