NEW DELHI: In an attempt to blunt Team Anna's campaign against the Lokpal bill, the Union Cabinet has cleared the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, the Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill and the Whistleblower Bill, three pieces of legislation that can ensure transparency and accountability in government and judiciary. 

Sticking to its commitment made to minority community leaders, the Cabinet also decided to exempt madrasas from the ambit of the Right to Education Act. The demand, originally made by Muslim clerics from poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, was later backed by senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi. 

The approval granted by the Cabinet to three accountability bills is being interpreted in political circles as part of the government's efforts to convince people that it was serious about ending corruption. 
With anti-graft activist Anna Hazare threatening to launch the third phase of his agitation, it had become imperative for the government to be seen as being earnest about tackling corruption. The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, makes a provision for judges to declare their assets, lays down judicial standards and establishes processes for removal of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts. 

To ensure greater accountability in the judiciary, the bill wants judges to refrain from making baseless and unsubstantiated comments against persons holding constitutional and statutory offices. 

Also, if the bill goes through and becomes a law, close relatives and social acquaintances of judges will be barred from practising in the same court. 

The Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill aims ensuring committed standards of public service and redressal of grievances within a stipulated time-frame.

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