Legislation to fix judicial accountablility soon : Law Minister

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New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) Law Minister H R Bhardwaj today announced in the Lok Sabha that the government will soon bring in legislation to fix accountability and contain corruption in the judiciary and to ensure that the powers of Parliament are not tampered by it.

Replying to the two-day discussion in the House on the 'need for harmonious functioning of three organs of the State namely legislature, executive and judiciary,' the Minister said the Standing Committee has already compeleted its discussion on the proposed Bill, to be titled Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2006. He said the Committee's recommendations would be placed before the House.

The suggestions made by the Standing Committee would be incorporated into the proposed Bill, which will be taken to the Cabinet.

The Bill aims at establishing a National Judicial Council to go into charges of misconduct and corrpution in judiciary.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha and later sent to the Standing Committee for scrutiny.

''Then the Bill will be placed on the floor of the House for more discussion. If something more is needed, it will be done,'' Mr Bhardwaj said.

The Minister informed that the Cabinet had given him a green signal to set up as many as 7,000 village courts or 'Grameen Adalats' for dispensing justice in a low cost manner at the grassroots level and help clear the large backlog of cases. About three hundred million cases were pending in different court of the country.

Mr Bharadwaj, however, expressed his inability to constitute a Tribunal to decide on the appointment of judges as it would require a Constitutional amendment, which requires a two-third majority of both Houses of Parliament.

Replying to a point raised by Mr Gurudas Dasgupta(CPI), who moved the proposal as to whether any organ of the State has the right to usurp the role of some other organ, the Minsiter quipped: ''Certainly not.'' ''No organ transplantation is possible in our democratic set up,'' he remarked.

The Minister explained this by saying that a judge cannot do the job of a policeman or a Municipal Commissioner.

Quoting extensively from the High Court and Supreme court judgments and the Constitutions of the United States, Austalia, the UK and Canada, the Minister brought home the point that the Indian Constitution was supreme and all the three limbs of the State need to circumscribed by their domains.

He said the Indian democracy was unique and was resilient enough to tide over ''small abberations here and there''.

The House, too, is supreme as it has the power to debate the policies and programmes of the government. It also has the power to grant funds for their implementation. But above all, it has the power to enact laws, he said.

He complimented the members for their ''firm resolve'' when they stripped as many as 11 members of their membership on being found lacking in transparency in public life.

On corruption in the judiciary, he said he had spoken to three former Chief Justices of India who also expressed concern at the problem. The Minister's remark that there was a perception among people that the judiciary was rendering a much better service than the legislature, irked Mr Dasgupta.

The CPI leader said it was not expected that such a remark should have been made by the Law Minister of the country.

The debate in the House veered around to the proposition that the judiciary was overlapping and overstepping its powers and encroaching upon the right of the legislature. Some members went so far as to describe this as a move from judicial activism to judical despotism.


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