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Judicial Accountability Bill: Panel Wants Inclusion Of MPs

PTI 29 Aug 2011, 18:22:44 IST

New Delhi, Aug 29: A parliamentary committee which scrutinised a bill aimed at making higher judiciary accountable has recommended inclusion of two members of Parliament in a panel to probe allegations against senior judges.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel which has finalised its recommendations on the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 has suggested inclusion of two non-judicial members as part of the proposed National Judicial Oversight Committee authorised to initiate probe into corruption allegations against senior judges.

The Committee in its report likely to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow is understood to have recommended inclusion of one MP each from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the National Judicial Oversight Committee.

Under the Bill, the five-member Oversight Committee to be headed by a former Chief Justice of India, would have a Supreme Court judge, a Chief Justice of a High Court, an eminent person nominated by the President and the Attorney General of India, who would be the ex-officio member.

The Standing Committee is learnt to have recommended that Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman can nominate one MP each from each House.

During the impeachment proceedings against Calcutta High Court judge, Justice Soumitra Sen, in Rajya Sabha, several members have called for greater accountability of members of the higher judiciary.

The panel also wants inclusion of non-judicial members in the Scrutiny Committees to be set up to study complaints against judges and forwarding the same to the Oversight Committee on basis of merit.

The Scrutiny Committee will be in place for Supreme Court and in each of the 21 High Courts and would submit reports within three months to the Oversight Committee.

Government has maintained that the Bill would make the judiciary more accountable, hence there was no need to put judges under the ambit of Lokpal.

The committee has also recommended reducing the jail term of five years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh against people found guilty of making unsubstantiated complaints against judges. PTI