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No executive takeover of judicial appointments: govt.

New Delhi: 28/07/2014: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with (L-R) Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan, Former Attorney General J.Soli Sorabjee and Senior Advocate Fali Nariman during a Consultaion with Eminent Jurists on Reforms in the Judiciary in New Delhi on Monday,July 28, 2014. Photo: R_V_Moorthy   | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy

Former Chief Justice of India V.N. Khare on Tuesday said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, at a consultation held between the Law Ministry and eminent jurists on setting up a Judicial Appointments Commission, had promised that there would not be a repeat of the pre-collegium days in the judicial appointments process.

“Minister Arun Jaitley assured us in the meeting that the situation will not go back to the pre-collegium days,” Justice Khare, who participated in the meeting, told The Hindu.

The assurance is significant as it comes at a time when a strong difference of opinion is emerging among the participants of Monday’s meeting on who should dominate the Judicial Appointments Commission — the executive or the judiciary.

The BJP-led NDA government had tried to soothe matters with this assurance that no matter what, a replacement to the collegium system would not pave the way for an executive takeover of judicial appointments.

Justice Khare supports the “dominance” of the judiciary in the Judicial Appointments Commission. “We want judges to have dominance because they are acquainted with the working of the judges shortlisted for selection. Unlike persons from outside, who depend on IB reports, we [judges] keep a close watch on the work of the particular judges and often come across their judgments,” Justice Khare reasoned. But senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi, one of the eminent jurists who participated in the consultations, said having a majority of judges in the commission would be old wine in a new bottle. It is “just collegium by another name.” Law Commission Chairperson Justice A.P. Shah also warned that the setting up of the commission in a cosmetic manner would “only change the circle of ‘high priests’, leaving untouched the mystique behind the ‘sacred ritual’ of appointments.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 4:17:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-executive-takeover-of-judicial-appointments-govt/article6261561.ece

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