Consultation on over Judicial Accountability Bill:Khurshid

New Delhi: Government of India is holding consultations with stakeholders on the Judicial Accountability Bill and has listed the matter for discussion in Parliament, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said here on Tuesday.

Hoping that the bill will be passed by the House after due consultations, Khurshid said the government needs to discuss few things with stakeholders before taking a final decision.
"Consultation is on (over Judicial Accountability Bill)… We need to consult few things with the stakeholders and we will do that. We expect that it will be passed by the House after due consultation," he told reporters here.

Khurshid was asked about the status of the Judicial Accountability Bill and whether government intends to pass it in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament. "Actually we had introduced the bill and discussions have also started on it. But now since we have to discuss this again in the House, it is listed (there)," he added.

Khurshid, who also holds the charge of Minority Affairs Ministry, while addressing the Annual Conference of State Minorities Commission here earlier, had stressed on the need for judicial reforms in the country.

To address the legitimate expectations and rightful aspirations of various minority groups in the country, he said that both police and judicial reforms should go hand in hand. "Police reform is overdue and several state governments are duly reflecting on it. But there is another important dimension to it… Something which has to go hand in hand with police reform is the judicial reforms. Something for which I am responsible under the capacity of Law Minister," he said.

The Conference was headed by M K Narayanan, Governor of West Bengal and attended by Minority Commission Chairman Wajahat Habibullah and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Vincent Pala.

Khurshid said following the recommendations of Sachar Committee various other minority groups have placed demand for a similar commission for them. "Even other communities like Parsis, Christians and Buddhists are demanding a committee on the lines of the Sachar Committee," he said.

Addressing the conference, Naryanan highlighted the importance of police reforms to ensure minorities in the country are protected and treated well. "Police and minority relations always remain a complex issue. This relations is not often antagonistic as it is made out…still it is true that in a sizable number of instance, the relationship has tended to be problematic," he said.

Summing up his argument for early police reforms, he stated that the police is "woefully understaffed" and "constantly under attack", and is often "under-equipped" in terms of knowledge and technique to deal with "assertive minorities who often suffer from the siege mentality".

Narayanan noted that the new security environment demanded a better equipped and prepared police force and they are often viewed as insensitive. "Constant and repeated charges and doubts about their impartiality do tend to produce negative vibes in certain sections of the police force," he said.

Narayanan cited examples of previous riots in parts of the country where the role of the police was under doubt and cops are facing various charges of negligences.