Govt mulling new system for judges selection

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and his predecessor Salman Khurshid

The clause prohibits judges from making "unwarranted comments against conduct of any constitutional or statutory authority or statutory bodies or statutory institutions or any chairperson or member or officer thereof, or on the matters which are pending or likely to arise for judicial determination."

He said the changes in the Bill, including the controversial clause, would be finalised shortly and the Law Ministry is likely to move a note before the Cabinet in the

next few days.

He said the changes would help dislodge certain misconceptions regarding the bill and it could be brought in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament.

Kumar noted that not only constitutional bodies, the clause would cover all people against whom unwarranted comments are made.

In reply to a question on suggestions made by some jurists that the Chief Justice of a particular court should ensure that no unnecessary observations are made, he said "You have not seen the (fresh) bill," indicating that the issue has been addressed.

Then Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, addressing a Supreme Court function on Independence Day this year, had cautioned that "the government may make law for making judges accountable. We are not afraid of that. But it should not tinker with the very constitutional principle of judicial independence."

Referring to the issue of improving the justice delivery system, Kumar said the Gram Nyayalaya Act, 2008 which seeks to provide courts at block level, could not be implemented vigorously.

He has written separately to the Chief Justices of the High Courts as well as the Chief Ministers to deploy people, including former judicial magistrates, to man such courts.

Kumar said the CMs have been asked to ensure that prosecutors and policemen take these courts seriously and has requested them to depute officials there.

He said to ease out pressure on courts, he was working on a proposal where people can settle their cheque bounce casesout of court through arbitration. At present, nearly 40 lakh such cases are pending in courts.

... contd.

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