Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Judicial panel to be set up
Code of ethics for Judges soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
The government today reaffirmed its commitment to the setting up a National Judicial Commission to draw up a code of ethics for Judges and said that the political parties had been asked to communicate their views on the commission.

In reply to another question Law and Justice Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha that the government was concerned over a large number of pending cases in the courts and for this purpose had started a pilot project to augment capacities of courts and speed up disposal of cases using information technology (IT).

Replying to a spate of questions in the House on reported misconduct by Judges, Mr Jaitley said National Commission to review the working of the Constitution had recommended setting up of a National Judicial Commission for the Supreme Court only.

He said the commission had also recommended that a permanent committee comprising the Chief Justice of India and two seniormost Judges of the court be empowered to examine complaints of deviant behaviours of all kinds and complaints of misbehaviour and incapacity of Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

He said besides drawing up the code of ethics for the Judges, the proposed National Judicial Commission would make recommendations for appointment of Judges of the Apex as well as High courts.

On alleged charges of misconduct against Judges of Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana and Rajasthan High Courts, Mr Jaitley said the Chief Justice of India had set up three fact-finding committees, each consisting of two sitting Chief Justices and Judges of different High Courts to go into the alleged complaints.

The minister made it clear that no action against any Judge of the High Courts whose kith and kin were practising in the same court was contemplated at present.

Responding to supplementaries to another question, he said High Courts had been requested to implement the recommendations of the Malimath Committee to streamline procedure which will, inter alia, expedite disposal of pending cases. The government was constantly reviewing the accumulation of arrears in courts, he said, adding besides increasing judge strength of High Courts every three years, the government had set up alternative modes of dispute resolution.

Mr Jaitley said post of one Supreme Court Judge was lying vacant. However, there were 135 vacancies in the High Courts while in the subordinate courts, the number was 2,041, he said, adding the Centre had written to the states to expedite appointment of Judges in district and subordinate courts.

He said special tribunals like Central Administrative Tribunal, State Administrative Tribunal, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and Labour Courts had been set up to expedite disposal of cases. 

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