In the new year, the much-awaited new system of appointment in higher judiciary will start functioning as the Presidential gave his assent to The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill on Wednesday.
The constitutional amendment bill that was aimed to replace the collegium system of appointing judges to higher judiciary, was passed by the Parliament during the NDA government’s first full session in August, 2014.
The new body, which will select judges for state High Courts and the Supreme Court, will comprise of the Chief Justice of India and two senior judges, the union law minister and two eminent people picked by the government. the CJI will head the panel.
Earlier, a Supreme Court-appointed collegium used to decide on all such appointments.
The bill, pending before parliament for almost two decades, was seen as a major reform in judicial affairs. It, however, was severely criticized by a section. The UPA government had earlier tried to push the bill, but failed to pass it due to the lack of political consensus.
The new panel will also decide on the transfer of judges between different courts.
The bill, after being passed by parliament, was ratified by 16 of the 29 states before the President gave his assent on Wednesday. A constitutional amendment bill requires ratification from at least 50% of the states.