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India PM backs special courts for corruption cases

[JURIST] Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [official website] has called for the establishment of special courts to deal specifically with corruption charges, telling a convention of high-ranking justices and government ministers on Saturday that "apart from pendency and delayed justice, corruption is another challenge we face both in government and the judiciary." Singh said addressing these problems would increases both domestic and foreign confidence in the court system. Following the prime minister's remarks, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan [official profile] told reporters that Singh did not mean that the judiciary itself was corrupt, but rather that it has to deal with a large number of cases brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation [official website] which alleged government corruption. Balakrishnan went on to say that allegations of judicial corruption were rare and dealt with swiftly when they did arise.

In response to questions about what checks exist against possible judicial corruption, Balakrishnan told reporters that Supreme Court [official website] justices are required to submit an accounting of their assets when they assume their post and to amend that accounting when they acquire new property. He also said that the because justice positions were constitutional rather than governmental, that this asset list and some other information on the justices were not publicly available through India's Right to Information Act [RTI materials], but that the Indian Parliament [official website] did have the power to enact laws requiring more judicial accountability if they chose to. The Hindustan Times has more. The Hindu has additional coverage.

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