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RS okays Bill to give Executive role in judges’ appointment 
Ashok Tuteja/Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Amid a walkout by the BJP, the Rajya Sabha today passed a Constitutional Amendment Bill which provides a role to the Executive in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts.

Under the proposed law, a panel, known as the Judicial Appointments Commission, will be set up, comprising the Chief Justice of India, two Supreme Court judges, the Union Law Minister and two eminent persons.

The Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill 2013 was approved by the House with a two-thirds majority after Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley and other BJP members walked out of the House as the government did not accept the party’s demand to refer the legislation to a Select Committee.

Currently, judges to the higher judiciary are being appointed solely on the recommendations of the collegium comprising senior-most judges.

Replying to the six-hour debate on the Bill, Law Minister Kapil Sibal told the House that even after its passage the Act would not become a law until half of the states in the country give their consent to it.

Sibal, a lawyer of repute, was in agreement with Jaitley and several other members that the present system of appointing judges to Supreme Court and High Courts lacked transparency and accountability. "Sometimes moments come in the life of a nation when you have to revisit the past and embrace the future. One such moment has come today," he said.

Jaitley, also a noted lawyer, echoed Sibal's views as he pressed for re-establishment of the "separation of powers". The BJP leader said when other establishments of the democracy do not infringe upon functioning of the Judiciary, then why would it ask the government to do this or do that and direct even on the economic policy of the government.

Other Opposition members were almost united in criticising the functioning of the judiciary and sought to scrap the collegium system of appointing judges to higher courts, saying it was essential to restore the delicate balance of power which has been disturbed. 





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