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Post a smooth sail in the Lok Sabha, the NDA government’s Constitution Amendment Bill to set up a National Judicial Commission ran into some opposition the Upper House where it was promptly introduced.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moved the bill after a debate on whether the House has powers to enact such a law.
Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said he had sought the opinion of former attorney general K Parasaran, a nominated Rajya Sabha member. Those opposing it said the law could be struck down by the courts. Prasad said the government had no intention to “transgress” the independence of the judiciary.
Read: Judicial Appointments Bill passed in Lok Sabha
CPM member Sitaram Yechury questioned the legal validity of the legislative process in moving the Constitution Amendment Bill without an “enabling” consent from at least half of the states, which was overuled.
Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP KTS Tulsi said Prasad appeared to be right that the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill would not be notified after its passage by both the Houses till the Constitution Amendment Bill becomes an Act.
“The question of legislative competence can’t be raised. The constitutionality of the NJAC has to be judged on the date on which is it is notified and not on the date on which it is passed by Parliament. If it is notified after the main Constitution Amendment Bill Act had been notified, there cannot be any problem with regard to the constitutionality of the NJAC,” Tulsi told HT.