Cabinet clears key bills on Judicial Accountability, Citizen's Charter and black money

Cabinet clears key bills on Judicial Accountability, Citizen's Charter and black money
New Delhi:  The Union Cabinet met today to discuss several key legislations that are expected to be taken up in this session of Parliament.

Sources tell NDTV that key bills - the Judicial Accountability, Citizen's Charter Bill,the Whistleblowers Bill, and Prevention of Money Laundering - have been cleared.

The Judicial Accountability Bill seeks to lay down judicial standards and provide for accountability of judges. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha last year. It was later sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice.

A key recommendation of the committee that seeks to "restrain" judges from making "unwarranted comments" against other constitutional bodies or persons in courts has been accepted by the government. Stringent legislation to check judicial corruption has been one of Team Anna's key demands The opposition BJP is likely to seek a stronger bill when it comes up for discussion in Parliament.

The Citizen's Charter, something Team Anna wanted included in the Lokpal Bill, seeks to ensure the citizen's Right to Service and set up a grievance redressal mechanism.  It envisages the stetting up of a  Central Public Grievance Redressal Commission.

The Whistleblowers Bill or the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill seeks to protect RTI and other activists.

Sources tell NDTV that the bills were cleared, despite issues raised by certain cabinet members. Home Minister P Chidambaram  had questions on clauses in the bill dealing with judges' social acquaintances.

On the Citizen's Charter, Mr Chidamnbaram reportedly said that the states may object. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal wanted the Bill  to be called the Services Bill.

The cabinet also discussed  the National Food Security Bill, but reports suggest Trinamool and other allies wanted to discuss some aspects of the bill further. This will now be brought up at a meeting next week.

The Food Security bill proposes an expenditure of Rs 95,000 crore for implementing the framework legislation on food security.

The draft bill, which bears the stamp of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, seeks to cover upto 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of urban households. It proposes right to 7 kg foodgrains per month per person, at Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 1 per kg for coarse grains to the priority beneficiaries.

(With Agency inputs)

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