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No proposal at present to reintroduce National Judicial Appointments Commission, says law minister

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The statement is relevant in the backdrop of the ongoing tussle between the judiciary and the executive over the issue of the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Dec 9, 2022 02:08 IST

Union minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju. (File photo)

By Srishti Ojha: In response to a question posed in the ongoing Rajya Sabha session asking whether the Government proposes to reintroduce the National Judicial Appointments Commission with suitable modifications, Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju said that there is no such proposal at present.

The Law Minister’s response in the Rajya Sabha came to an unstarred question asked by INC President Mallikarjun Kharge and Member of Parliament John Brittas. The statement is relevant in backdrop of the ongoing tussle between the judiciary and the executive over the issue of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

There have been remarks coming from both sides in the last few weeks, the most recent one being from the Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankar, who called the Supreme Court’s judgment setting aside NJAC ‘a glaring instance of severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty and disregard of the mandate of the people.

The following are the other questions which were asked by Kharge and Brittas:

-Whether the Supreme Court recently expressed its opinion over delay in notifying the names of judges recommended by the collegium.

-Number of collegium proposals pending with the Government as on date and the reasons for delay.

-Number of collegium proposals returned by the Government during the last five years

-State-wise details of proposals recommended by the high Courts pending with the Supreme Court collegium and the government along with the reasons.

-Number of vacancies as on date in the Supreme Court and High Courts.

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The law minister, while answering the questions, at the outset stated that the appointment of the judges of the Constitutional Courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary.

It requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at state and central level. The government appoints only those persons as Judges of High Courts who are recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium.

” The proposal for appointment of 1 Supreme Court Judge and 8 HC Judges recommended by the Collegium is pending with the government,”Kiren Rijiju said.

The law minister stated that as on December 5, one proposal for appointment of a Supreme Court Judge and eight proposals for appointment of High Courts Judges recommended by the SC Collegium are pending with the government.

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Further, there are 11 proposals for the transfer of High Court Judges, one proposal of transfer of a Chief Justice and one proposal for the appointment of Chief Justice of a High Court recommended by the Supreme Court under consideration of the Government.

146 proposals recommended by the High Court Collegiums are at various stages of processing with the Government and the Supreme Court Collegium. He also said that the Supreme Court, while hearing a court case, has expressed its opinion over delay in notifying the names of judges recommended by the collegium.

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