• Introduced
    Lok Sabha
    Dec 19, 2006
    Gray
  • Referred
    Standing Committee
    Dec 26, 2006
    Gray
  • Report
    Standing Committee
    Aug 17, 2007
    Gray

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19, 2006. The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice (Chairperson: E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan) presented its report to the Rajya Sabha on August 17, 2007.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2006 establishes a National Judicial Council (NJC) to conduct inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misbehaviour by High Court and Supreme Court judges.

  • The NJC shall consist of the Chief Justice of India, two Supreme Court judges and two High Court Chief Justices to investigate High Court judges; or the Chief Justice of India and four Supreme Court judges to investigate Supreme Court judges.

  • The NJC shall investigate complaints submitted by any person, or upon receiving a reference from Parliament based on a motion moved by 50 Rajya Sabha or 100 Lok Sabha MPs. It may also entertain complaints from any other source.

  • If the allegations are proven, the NJC may impose minor measures or recommend the removal of the judge. Removal of a judge shall be through impeachment by Parliament.

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    A judge may appeal to the Supreme Court against his removal or against any minor measures imposed upon him.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The NJC, in consonance with recommendations of the Law Commission, is composed solely of serving members of the Supreme Court and High Court. The Standing Committee has stated that there should be wider participation in the process.
  • The Bill allows a judge to appeal his removal before the Supreme Court after impeachment. The Standing Committee has observed that this would undermine the finality of a Presidential Order that should not be challenged.
  • The Standing Committee cautioned against an open system of complaints by any person, and suggested an impartial Empowered Committee to filter all complaints before they were investigated by the NJC.
  • The Law Commission had stated that the provisions of the Bill, including minor measures, would withstand constitutional scrutiny. While the Standing Committee agreed, it recommended a re-examination of its constitutional validity.
  • The inquiry by the NJC is to be in camera, and not in an open court. The Supreme Court had held in a previous case that the judge being investigated had the right to request a public trial.

Read the complete analysis here