Centre wants judicial appoinment commission bill ratified soon

The Centre has shot off letters to the state governments for early ratification of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill, which is to replace the collegium system of judges appointing judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Wednesday told reporters that he has written to the chief ministers for the purpose as the Constitution amendment bill required ratification by at least 50 per cent of the state legislatures.

Goa, Rajasthan and Tripura legislatures have already ratified the bill. Parliament had in August cleared a Constitution amendment bill that will facilitate setting up of a commission for appointment of judges, replacing the 20-year-old collegium system.

The bill will grant constitutional status to the NJAC and its composition. The Chief Justice of India will head the NJAC. Besides the CJI, the judiciary would be represented by two senior judges of the Supreme Court. Two eminent personalities and the law minister will be the other members of the proposed body.

Gowda also said that government will “take up as soon as possible” a bill to enhance the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 to bring it at par with the retirement age of Supreme Court judges.

The minister said the government has cleared enhancing the strength of high court judges by 25 per cent from the current 906 to 1,112 posts and the Chief Justice of India has approved the proposal.

With regard to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s recent statement about government taking tough measures on land aquisition, Gowda denied that the government was mulling to bring an ordinance for amending the law.

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