Union Cabinet approves Judicial Accountability Bill with amendments

New Delhi, Oct.5 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave its approval to a Bill that provides a mechanism for inquiry into the complaints against the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

"The proposed Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill has been given a go ahead with some amendments," the Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The Bill lays down judicial standards and requires the judges of the Supreme and the High Courts to declare their assets and liabilities.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill seeks to replace the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 while retaining its basic features. She also said that a five-member National Judicial Oversight Committee to be chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be set up.

It will have the Attorney General, the Supreme Court Judge nominated by the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India and an eminent person nominated by the President on the panel.

The Bill provides for complaints to be made to the Oversight Committee which will then be sent to a three-member scrutiny panel for investigations.

The investigations will have to be completed in three months time and the report submitted to the Apex Oversight Committee.

Meanwhile, in another decision, the Union Cabinet approved payment of 77 days of bonus for Railway employees. This will cost exchequer over 1065 crore rupees. Nearly 13 lakh Non-Gazetted Railway employees will benefit.

It also approved an expenditure of upto 3,000 crore rupees during the 11th plan for the setting up of 13 new Central Universities and conversion of three state universities into central universities. (ANI)

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