Opposition for withdrawal of judges bill

New Delhi: A much delayed bill which provides for a mechanism for investigation against judges was taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha amid demands that it should be withdrawn and amended to give it more teeth.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, which was introduced in December, 2010 has now been brought with fresh amendments, including one which seeks to restrain judges from making "unwarranted comments" against conduct of any Constitutional authority.

The House also took up another Bill for consideration which seeks to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from the present 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on par with the retirement age of Supreme Court judges. It is a Constitutional Amendment Bill which seeks to amend Articles 217 and 224 of the Constitution to increase the retirement age.

Moving the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill for consideration and passage, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the legislation seeks to set up a mechanism to inquire into complaints against a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court – a matter, he said, was dear to the heart of MPs.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 but retain some of its key features like power to Parliament to impeach a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Courts, Khurshid said. Initiating the debate, D B Chandre Gowda (BJP) said the Bill was "opaque" and inadequate to address the issue and needed a "relook".