In a proposal that could pitch the legislature against the judiciary, a parliamentary panel has suggested the Government introduce reservations in appointment of high court and Supreme Court judges and restore the executive’s discretion in appointment of judges.
The committee said it was logical to extend reservations to the constitutional body of law interpreters when there were quotas for lawmakers and law-implementers.
“When the Executive and Legislature are brought under the ambit of constitutional reservation, it is but natural that Judiciary, the third pillar of democracy, should also be covered by the principle of reservation,” the Congress’ EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice said.
“This is the major rationale regarding reservation in judiciary,” he told reporters after tabling the committee’s report on the Judges Inquiry Bill 2006.
The committee blamed the judiciary for keeping out competent persons of downtrodden communities from “through a shrewd process of manipulation”. This nexus and manipulative judicial appointments have to be broken and “reservation in judiciary is the only answer,” it argued.
The committee also favoured returning to the pre-1993 procedure of appointment of judges, where both executive and judiciary were involved and the executive had primacy. In 1993, the Supreme Court had overturned its earlier interpretation of the Constitution and made the SC collegium’s recommendation for appointments binding on the President.
The report quoted former SC chief justices PN Bhagwati and RS Pathak expressing reservations on the working of the post-1993 method of appointments. The report also has a senior law ministry official pointing out that judges were not allowed to appoint judges anywhere else in the world.