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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Regional parties a snag for proposed panel: Judges

Nagendar Sharma , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 29, 2013
First Published: 01:13 IST(29/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:15 IST(29/7/2013)

Apart from its own reservations on the government's proposed national commission to appoint judges for the Supreme Court and high courts, the higher judiciary feels the growing clout of regional parties in the coalition era will be a major hindrance for any such move.

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Though the government is yet to share its proposal to replace the existing system for judges' appointment by a panel of country's top five judges (Supreme Court collegium) with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), the higher judiciary views it as a non-starter, HT has learnt.

"With the growing clout of regional parties and the increasing dependence of central governments on them, there is apprehension of the proposed system falling prey to undue political interference in the process of appointments," said a source in the higher judiciary.

The judiciary is of the opinion the government will find it "extremely difficult" to decide the composition of the proposed NJAC, since its supporting parties may not accept any new panel.

The current draft bill to amend the constitution for replacing the existing collegium system proposes a six-member NJAC to be headed by the Chief Justice of India. The law minister, leader of the Opposition in one of the Houses of Parliament, two senior SC judges and a jurist to be nominated by the President, will be its members.

Successive CJIs, including the incumbent, justice P Sathasivam have bluntly rejected the proposal to scrap the collegium system, maintaining that it is working well.


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