The government and the opposition on Monday appeared close to a consensus on replacing the existing system to appoint judges with a broad based panel, following a crucial meeting between the law minister Kapil Sibal and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
The two leaders discussed the government’s proposal to bring a constitution amendment bill for setting-up the National Judicial Appointments Commission to replace the existing system of five senior-most judges (Supreme Court collegium) selecting names for appointing judges to the apex court and high courts.
“I have always been in support of the National Judicial Commission, and I have made some suggestions to Kapil Sibal. It is for the government to consider those,” Jaitley told reporters.
Jaitley, who was the law minister during the NDA regime, said: “I can actually foresee a larger consensus evolving, subject to a broader agreement on the composition and nature of its (NJAC’s) functioning.”
Sibal, too sounded positive on the outcome of the meeting and said, “in principle, subject to of course my government’s agreement, I agree with what he (Jaitley) has suggested and I am going to incorporate those suggestions and circulate it to the cabinet in a week or so.”
According to a cabinet note moved by Sibal’s predecessor, Ashwani Kumar, the government had proposed to set up a six-member National Judicial Appointments Commission headed by the Chief Justice of India with the law minister as a representative of the government.