The Union government on Thursday decided to retain a clause in a Bill on judicial standards which debars judges from making verbal comments against any constitutional authority in open courts.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendments to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill which had already been passed in the Lok Sabha and was pending in the Rajya Sabha.

While deciding to retain the controversial clause, it made some changes to ensure it “stands the test of Article 14 which deals with equality before law,” informed sources said.

The earlier clause prohibited judges from making “unwarranted comments against the conduct of a constitutional or statutory authority or statutory bodies or statutory institutions or a chairperson or member or officer thereof, or on the matters which are pending or likely to arise for judicial determination.”

The amended clause debars judges from making unwarranted comments against conduct of any “constitutional body and other persons.” The clause is part of restatement of values for judges.

“In a bid to bring more clarity on the subject, the restatement of values for judges has been put in a separate Schedule of the Bill-Schedule II,” the sources said.

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