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Judicial appointments panel to replace collegium system: Govt
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
Law Minister Salman Khurshid today said the government had decided to set up a Judicial Appointments Commission to replace the present collegium system under which the judiciary had the final say in the selection of judges for the high courts and the Supreme Court.

Khurshid told reporters that the commission would have representatives from the executive but would function independent of the government in order to preserve the independence of the judiciary. It would be set up after amending the Constitution for the purpose.

“We are fully committed to changing the procedure for the appointment of judges,” which was entirely with the judiciary, he said. At present, the HC and SC judges are appointed strictly on the basis of recommendations made by a Collegium of senior-most judges at the SC and each HC.

Contending that the Collegium system devised by the SC was no longer relevant for the present times, Khurshid said the proposal for the change would be brought up before the Union Cabinet very shortly.

Under the proposed system, the appointments of judges “will be transparent” and give a say to the executive “in a manner that does not take away the independence of the judiciary. It will be a consensual exercise,” he said.

The government had decided to go for a Constitutional amendment for changing the Collegium system instead of approaching the SC for the purpose. The decision was taken after wide consultations with all the stakeholders and experts.

Khurshid said the controversial Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 would only cover legal education that would not entitle the students to practice in courts, while the existing law degree would continue to be administered by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal had made the clarification in a letter to the BCI, which recently spearheaded a lawyers’ strike across the country in protest against the Bill, Khurshid told reporters.

Briefing the media on various subjects, the Law Minister gave a status report also on the proposed changes in the divorce provisions in the Hindu Marriage Act, the setting up of new HCs in Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura and putting in place an all-India Judicial Service on the lines of the IAS or the IPS.

The Proposal

  • Till now, judiciary had the final say in selecting SC, HC judges
  • The proposed system gives a say to the executive
  • The govt has decided to go for a Constitutional amendment for changing the collegium system instead of approaching the SC for the purpose





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