No intention to tinker with judicial independence, says government


New Delhi : Maintaining that judicial independence can co-exist with judicial accountability, the government Friday said it has no intention to impair the independence of judiciary through the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill.

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A government, in a statement, said it was not true that the bill would impair the independence of judiciary.

“The ministry of law and justice, department of justice, would like to state that this is not true. The attempt to link the Bill with independence of judiciary is not based on facts,” the statement said.

The government’s clarification came in the wake of media reports on Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia’s address on Independence Day wherein he had said that government should not tinker with the judicial independence while making it accountable by bringing the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill.

Having denied that there was any attempt by the government to tinker with the independence of the judiciary through the Bill, the statement blamed the media of twisting the speech made by Kapadia and not seeing and interpreting it in full context.

The bill’s provisions “do not in any way infringe on the independence of the judiciary which is hallmark of Indian democracy and which is guaranteed under the Constitution,” the statement said.

“The accountability and independence can co-exist in a reinforcing mode and without affecting the working of the judiciary,” the statement said adding: “The apprehensions expressed are then devoid of the understanding of the Scheme of the Bill and without understanding of the fact that it meets the aspirations of the people in a functioning democracy like India having a functioning judiciary.”

The bill has been prepared after holding wide ranging consultations and after holding discussions with legal experts, eminent jurists, and NGOs, the statement added.

It said that the ministry would “like to clarify that by enforcing standards of behaviour, by declaration of assets by them and by providing a mechanism for making complaints against erring Judges and for their investigation, the Bill will establish the confidence and faith of the people in the judicial system without exposing them to unnecessary risk”.