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Parliament's Nod to Judicial Appointments Commission Bill
Aug 18, 2014

The parliament passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 and Constitutional Amendment Bill. Judicial Appointments Commission Bill will replace the existing Collegium system when it comes into effect. The Collegium system involves a panel of judges headed by the Chief Justice of India which selects the judges. It has been in place for over a decade and in recent years it has drawn flak for being a closed system in which the judiciary selects its own judges.

The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014 seeks to put the proposed Commission and its entire composition in the Constitution, the other legislation lays down the procedure to be followed by the proposed body for appointment of Supreme Court judges and transfer and appointment of chief justices and other judges of the high courts.

The bill will make way for the setting up of a National Judicial Appointments Commission which will appoint and transfer judges to the Supreme Courts and the 24 High Courts. The bill will come into force after ratification by 50 percent of the state legislatures. The process could take up to eight months. After ratification, the government will send it to the President for his assent.

Key Features of the Bill:

  • Establishment of a six-member Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), who will provide recommendations to the President on the appointment and transfer of judges.

  • The six members include the Chief Justice of India, Law and Justice Minister, two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and two eminent persons.

  • The choice of these 'eminent persons' will be left to the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition Party or the leader of the largest party in Opposition.

  • These two eminent persons should belong to the Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe, women or minority community, preferably by rotation and will have a tenure of three years.

  • The entire process under the JAC is to ensure transparency in judicial appointments and transfers.


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