The Parliament has passed a Constitution amendment bill to set up a commission for appointment of judges, by replacing the 20-year-old collegium system, which has got severe criticism. With both the houses passing the bill, it will require at least half of the states’ approval to become a law. The process could take up to eight months and after ratification, the government will send it to the President for his assent. The bill grants a constitutional status to the NJAC and its composition.
The bill will enable the setting up of a National Judicial Appointments Commission to appoint and transfer judges to the Supreme Courts and the 24 high courts. With the passage of the bill, the collegium system of judges is set for a change.
The Chief Justice of India will head the NJAC. Besides, two other senior judges of the Supreme Court will be part of the body, apart from two eminent personalities and the law minister. The prominent people, one of whom will belong to either of SC/ST, OBC, minorities or a woman, will be chosen the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lower House. However, the power to appoint a judge rests with the President, as before.