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India chief justice proposes constitutional court

[JURIST] The Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan [official profile] proposed on Saturday the creation of a new constitutional court to review matters relating to the Indian Constitution [text] and other federal issues. Balakrishnan also suggested [The Hindu report] the creation of a television channel that would exclusively cover the Supreme Court of India [official website; JURIST news archive], similar to the channel that currently covers the Indian Parliament. The channel would provide the people with a better understanding of what judges do and at the same time make judges more accountable for their decisions. The proposed constitutional court would be similar to the system in South Africa, and would help ease the Supreme Court's load as more appeals are filed.

The suggestions of the television channel and an increase in transparency in the court come as the Supreme Court faces criticism for judicial accountability. In November, judges of the Supreme Court voluntarily made public disclosures [JURIST report] of their financial assets [list]. Despite the release, Transparency International [advocacy website] questioned the benefit of disclosure when there is no way to confirm that it is entirely accurate, given the announcement that the judges will not entertain any queries or scrutiny [CJAR press release, PDF] of assets listed. In August, the judges made the decision [JURIST report] to go public with their assets, despite not being required to do so by Indian law.

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