Govt mulling new system for judges selection
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Amid demands for greater transparency in appointment of judges to higher judiciary, government today said it is working on a proposal to put in place a new system to change the present mechanism where a collegium of judges has a larger say in such decisions.
Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said there was a "large political consensus" to put in place the alternative mechanism.
Under the present Collegium system, the executive has no say in appointments of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts as the recommendations of the Collegium are final and binding on the government.
"There seems to be a large political consensus on the need for having an alternative mechanism...principle of it is, may be an alternative system for appointment which ensures greater transparency and better inputs to ensure that the best are selected to judiciary. It is still under consideration," Kumar told reporters here.
He said though the proposal was still going several changes, the proposed National Judicial Commission could be headed by the Chief Justice of India.
In reply to a poser, he refused to say whether the new body would have the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition as its members. One of the initial drafts is
understood to have suggested that the PM and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha be part of the Commission.
"There has been a view that we could consider that the collegium system has had its utility...whatever is required will be done and if we can do it we shall do it. Otherwise, we'll see what is the best way possible," the minister said, noting that the move might entail a Constitutional amendment which needs the backing of two-thirds members of a particular House of Parliament.
India may be among the few countries in the world where judges appoint themselves. This practice started after 1993, replacing the system of government picking judges for higher judiciary comprising Supreme Court and 21 High Courts.
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