Govt clears bill to scrap collegium system for appointment of judges to higher courts

SupremecourtThe Supreme Court collegium consists of five top judges of the apex court, headed by the CJI.

Overcoming resistance from the judiciary, the government on Thursday took a significant decision to scrap the collegium system of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.

Related: New CJI hits back over collegium row

The Cabinet approved the bill which entails replacing the collegium system with a Judicial Appointments Commission wherein it will have a say in appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts.

Related: The collegium controversy

Under the proposal, the government seeks to set up a panel headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to appoint and transfer senior judges.

The other members of the proposed Commission would be two judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister, two eminent persons as members and Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry as Member Secretary.

The Law Ministry has been pushing the proposal, which will require a Constitutional amendment, but some sections in the government as well as judiciary had reservations over its certain provisions.

An earlier proposal circulated in April had incorporated the view that the Leader of the Opposition should be made a member of the JAC.

According to the fresh note, the Leader of the Opposition will not be part of the proposed body.

However, the Leader of the Opposition of either House of Parliament will be part of a committee to be set up to nominate two eminent persons to the JAC.

The committee will also have the CJI and the Prime Minister as other members.

A constitutional amendment bill will be moved in Parliament next week, sources said.

The move to set up JAC would entail amendments to Articles 124, 217, 222 and 231 of the Constitution and insertion of Article 124 A.

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