M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet nod for judicial council
Reserved SC, ST posts won’t be de-reserved;
new bill to be framed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
At a meeting of the union cabinet held here today, cabinet decided to set up a judicial council to probe cases against higher judiciary, put a ban on publication and telecast of exit polls during the election process, reframing of the SC/ST draft Bill, clearing the amendment of the Indian Trust Act and setting up of a plasma centre. There was also an indepth discussion on the impact of the anti-Christian violence in Orissa and in other parts of the country and divided views on the imposition of President’s rule in Orissa and banning of the Bajrang Dal.

The setting up of a national judicial council (NJC) to investigate complaints against judges of the higher judiciary and recommend suitable action against them was okayed. The NJC will probe allegations against a judge of the Supreme Court or high courts judges. However, the power to impeach a judge, if required, will continue to wrest with Parliament.

The NJC comes close on the heels of a few serious allegations, including a CBI investigation into the cash-at-door scam under which a couple of judges of the Punjab and Haryana High are being questioned.

It is likely that the Chief Justice of India will head the NJC. It is expected to have two components. One to probe allegations against high court judges and other to look into the allegations leveled against a Supreme Court judge.

The setting up of the NJC was pending since long. In December, 2006, the Congress-led UPA government introduced the Judges (inquiry) Bill, 2006. The same was referred to the parliamentary standing committee, which has now suggested withdrawal of the bill and the introduction of an amended bill. This will be called the Judges (inquiry) Amendment Bill 2008 and will be introduced in the forthcoming session of Parliament, finance minister P. Chidambaram said while briefing reporters on the developments in the cabinet here today.

He said the new bill will bring about transparency in the functioning of the judiciary and would enhance its prestige.

The government today made it clear that a post reserved for SCs/STs will not be de-reserved and will be carried forward as such. The provision will be incorporated in the new SC/ST (reservation in posts and services) Bill, which the cabinet today agreed to redraft to make the reservation process more coherent.

“Sensitive to the need for providing adequate representation for the SCs and STs in civil services and posts under the central government, the government resolved to enact a reservation act to codify instructions on reservation and accordingly introduce a bill in the Rajya Sabha in 2004. The bill will be withdrawn and a new bill framed,” finance minister P. Chidambaram today said after the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet today approved a proposal to withdraw the said bill and introduce in its place another bill containing provisions regarding penalty on officers, who do not implement reservation provisions, imparting training to SCs and STs so that they could compete for jobs.

The proposed law will create an unambiguous, coherent and authentic framework for implementing reservations for the SCs and STs in the central government services.



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