Moily for steps to take corrupt judges to task

Law Minister Veerappa Moily looks set to push for a "mechanism" to provide for "punishment" to judges who are proved guilty of corruption the existing provision for their impeachment only leads to their removal from the post. He also wants some "regulations" to define contempt of court to check its indiscriminate use by judges.

While "99 per cent judges are excellent", said Moily, the erring 1 per cent, are let off the hook. "Impeachment never takes place and even that can lead to only removal. I want punishment for corruption to be enforced. For this, a certain mechanism has to be worked out," the Law Minister told The Indian Express. He, however, clarified that he would take the judiciary "into confidence" before taking any measures.

Such a mechanism could be incorporated in the proposed Judges Inquiry (Amendment) Bill, 2008, which the Union Cabinet had decided to introduce last October. The previous Judges Inquiry Bill, introduced in 2006, has lapsed. The new Bill would have the provision to set up a Judicial Council to investigate complaints against higher judiciary.

Moily also said that "appropriate parameters" needed to be worked out for contempt of court proceedings. "Contempt of court has to be governed by certain procedures. It cannot be left to the whims and fancies of any judge... it's time to have some regulations to define contempt," he said.

The Law Minister is also in favour of declaration of assets by judges, "but some protection needs to be worked out".

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