Code of conduct for Judiciary

Code of conduct for Judiciary

News: Recently, The US Supreme Court has released its first-ever code of conduct, comprising nine pages of ethics rules for its justices.

Background:
• According to surveys, the confidence of people in the Justice system in USA has hit an all-time low.

What is Code of Conduct?
• A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms, rules, and responsibilities or proper practices of an individual party or an organization. It can be voluntary or non-voluntary.

Key Points of Code of Conduct:
• Purpose and scope: The code aims to set out the ethics rules and principles that guide the conduct of the justices of the court, and to dispel the misunderstanding that they are unrestricted by any ethics rules. The code largely represents a codification of principles that the justices have long regarded as governing their conduct
• Five canons: The code consists of five basic canons that cover the following aspects of judicial conduct: upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary, avoiding impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities, performing the duties of office fairly, impartially, and diligently, engaging in extrajudicial activities consistent with the obligations of the judicial office, and refraining from political activity.
•  Criticism and controversy: The code has been criticized for lacking enforcement mechanisms and being self-policed, as well as being more lenient than the codes of conduct for the other branches of government and the lower courts. The code has also been seen as a response to the ethics scrutiny faced by the court, especially by Justice Clarence Thomas, who has been accused of receiving undisclosed gifts and having conflicts of interest with his wife’s political activities.

Issues of Ethics in Indian Judiciary:
• YouTuber Savukku Shankar was sentenced to six months in prison in 2022 by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court when he accused Justice GR Swaminathan of being influenced in a case and made general allegations of corruption in the higher judiciary.
• Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoiwas nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2020. The bench headed by him delivered crucial judgments in cases like Ayodhya, Sabarimala, and Rafale 

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