NEW DELHI (TIP): In a significant development, the Union Cabinet on Thursday, August 22 cleared a proposal, which seeks to scrap the collegium system of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts. The proposal calls for setting up a Judicial Appointments Commission that will replace the collegium system of appointing judges to higher courts. The development comes days after Law Minister Kapil Sibal informed the Lok Sabha that there is a proposal to establish a Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) that would replace the present collegium system. The government has the inprinciple support of political parties to bring such a bill which will require amendment to the Constitution, Sibal had said then.
The JAC will give the executive a say in appointment of Supreme Court and high court judges. According to the proposal, JAC will be headed by the Chief Justice of India. It will have two Supreme Court judges, the Law Minister and two eminent personalities as its members. The Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry will be the Member Secretary. The body will recommend ppointment and posting of apex court and HC judges. The two eminent persons on JAC will be selected by a panel comprising the CJI, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition of either House. As of now, the judges of the apex court are appointed by a collegium comprising the CJI and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. The appointment of judges of the 24 high courts is initiated by the Chief Justice of the concerned HC in consultation with two senior-most judges of that court. The Chief Minister and Governor of the state concerned are also consulted.