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The government is likely to introduce the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill in Parliament this week after incorporating some suggestions made by the political parties. A draft for the Cabinet’s consideration would be moved in a couple of days, a senior law ministry official said.
Most of the parties are supportive of having a commission for appointments in higher judiciary and have asked the government to stick with the recommendation of the standing committee.
The committee had suggested that the commission should be a seven-member body headed by the Chief Justice of India and having two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court as members. It also wanted that apart from the law minister, three eminent citizens should also be members to provide a balance in the appointment process.
The government had suggested a six-member panel with two citizens as members in place of three as recommended by the committee. Sources said this was done in a bid to prevent stiff opposition from the Supreme Court on replacing the existing system of collegium — a committee of judges recommending appointment — with a commission having an outside oversight.
The Congress, which had earlier introduced the judicial appointment commission bill in Rajya Sabha, wants the government to retain most of the provisions of the original bill and would decide on its action only after it sees the final print. “Let them bring the bill to Parliament,” was the reaction of a Congress leader when asked about the proposed bill.
The Left parties, Trinamool Congress and Janata Dal (United) also support reforming the appointment process in the judiciary but will take a call only after seeing the bill.