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Law panel submits report on Judges Inquiry Bill
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 31
The Law Commission today submitted its report on the controversial Judges Inquiry Bill, providing for setting up a National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe any “misconduct” of Supreme Court and high court judges, to the government with its recommendations.

Law Commission Chairman Justice M Jagannadah Rao submitted the report to Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj, who had sought the views of the panel after former Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti had rejected the Bill as prepared by the UPA government.

Justice Lahoti, a day before demitting office on October 31 last, had said on consultation with his colleagues in the Supreme Court that he was not agreed to the Bill in the present form and had suggested several changes in it with the recommendation that the views of the Law Commission should also be sought by the government.

A statement issued by the Law Ministry said Mr Bhardwaj had sent the draft Bill to the commission on November 2, 2005.

Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, who took over as CJI from Justice Lahoti, had also endorsed the views of his predecessor of extensive consultation on the Bill. But he had gone further to say that the existing “In-House Mechanism” of the Supreme Court to inquire into any complaint against a judge by a collegium through a committee appointed by it was working “perfectly fine”.

He had said if the government still wanted to bring a Bill, it was freed to do so, the apex court had no reason to interfere in it. But any law would be tested on the merit of its constitutionality, he had said.

The statement said: “The commission made a comprehensive study suggesting changes in the proposed draft of the Judges’ Inquiry Bill, 2005, prepared by the ministry.”

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