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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Statute bill to scrap collegium system gets Presidential nod...................

The Constitutional Amendment Bill, paving the way for the scrapping of the much-criticised 20-year-old collegium system by which judges appoint judges to the higher judiciary, received the Presidential nod today. 

The Constitution (121st amendment) Bill, passed by Parliament in August this year has received President's assent, official sources said. 

Before the task of selecting and transferring Supreme Court and High Court judges finally shifts from the collegium, to a committee headed by the Chief Justice of India, government has to get the President's assent to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill, an enabling legislation. 

The government has has to notify the date from which the the law will come into force. 

The NJAC Bill, which was also passed in August by the Parliament along with the 121st Constitutional Amendment Bill, provides for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice and other Judges of the 24 High Courts. 

The Constitutional Amendment Bill grants constitutional status to the composition of the proposed Commission. It was done following demands by jurists and judges who felt that without a constitutional status, the composition could be altered by a future government by an ordinary legislation. 

The government is likely to send the NJAC Bill to the President for his assent in the coming days. Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the next course of action. 

"I will meet the Prime Minister day after tomorrow to discuss the issue. We will decide after that. But, we will do it soon," he told PTI in reply to a question on when the Law Ministry will send the NJAC Bill to President. 

The Law Ministry had sent the Constitutional Amendment Bill to President for his assent receiving ratification by 17 out of 29 state legislatures. A Constitutional Amendment Bill requires ratification by at least 50 per cent of the states.