Millennium Post

Govt won't play adjudicator in alleged corruption in judiciary: Prasad

The government on Thursday made it clear that it will not be an "adjudicator" in cases of alleged corruption in the judiciary, and asked the judiciary to evolve a robust mechanism within to deal with complaints against judges.
Addressing a press conference here, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also said any future move to bring a fresh law on judicial appointments will require a bipartisan decision after the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act was struck down by the Supreme Court.

Responding to a question on corruption charges against judges, he said the judiciary has to address the issue of complaints against judges.

"As far as the issue of corruption in the judiciary is concerned, the government does not wish to be an adjudicator.

Any issue of impropriety must be addressed to the judiciary.

The larger issue of impeachment (of a judge) will be dealt with by Parliament," he said.

The Law Minister also said the judiciary must address the issue of complaints through a robust mechanism, stressing this is important for the independence of the institution.

Prasad's remarks on robust mechanism assume significance because a new Memorandum of Procedure (MOP) -- a guide to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts -- has been pending for nearly one-and-a-half years due to differences between the executive and the judiciary.

One of the changes suggested in the existing MoP by the government is the setting up of a secretariat to screen those who have been nominated for appointment as judges and deal with complaints against judges.
The Supreme Court collegium - a body of top five SC judges -- had sent the draft MoP back to the government in March due to disagreements over several clauses.

Prasad refused to speak on the differences saying several differences have been resolved and the MoP is a "work in progress". He said though the new MoP has not been finalised, the appointment of judges continues. There is already an in-house mechanism in the judiciary to deal with cmplaints against judges.
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