Parliament met for the 25th Sitting of the Budget Session today.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 and
the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Bill, 2014 were
introduced in Lok Sabha today.
The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014 and The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 were
undertaken together for consideration and passing today in Lok Sabha.
Both Bills were introduced yesterday evening and have not been examined
by a Standing Committee.
Rajya Sabha today passed the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014 makes the necessary
changes in the Constitution to create the National Judicial Appointments
Commission and defines its composition and powers. This Commission will
appoint judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts and determine their
transfers. It also enables Parliament to determine, by law, the
procedure for appointments.
Bills to constitute a Judicial Appointments Commission had been introduced by the previous government in 2013 as well. For a comparison of the 2013 Bills with the 2014 Bills being currently considered by Parliament, see here.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 proposes the
procedures for appointments and transfers. Some of the main features of
the Bill are mentioned below:
Composition of the Commission
The NJAC shall comprise:
Functions of the Commission
The functions of the NJAC include making recommendations for:
Power of the President to require reconsideration
The President may require the Commission to reconsider the
recommendations made by it. If the Commission makes a unanimous
recommendation after such reconsideration, the President shall make the
Procedure for Selection of Supreme Court judges
Chief Justice of India: The NJAC shall recommend the senior most judge
of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India. This is
provided he is considered fit to hold the office.
SC judges: The NJAC shall recommend names of persons on the basis of
their ability, merit and other criteria specified in the
regulations. The Commission shall not recommend a person for appointment
if any two members of the Commission do not agree to such
Procedure for Selection of High Court judges
Chief Justice of High Courts: The Commission is to recommend a Judge of a
High Court to be the Chief Justice of a High Court on the basis of
inter-se seniority of High Court judges and ability, merit and other
criteria of suitability as specified in the regulations. The Commission
shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members of the
Commission do not agree to such recommendation.
Other HC Judges:
Nominations: Nominations shall be sought from Chief Justice of the concerned High Court for appointments of HC judges.
Eliciting views: The Commission shall nominate names for appointment of
HC judges and forward such names to the Chief Justice of the concerned
HCs for his views.
In both cases, the Chief Justice of the HC shall consult two senior most
judges of that HC and other judges and advocates as specified in the
Views of the Governor and CM: The NJAC shall elicit the views of the
Governor and Chief Minister of the state before making recommendations.
Reference to Commission for filling up vacancies
When a vacancy arises in the SC or HCs, the central government will make
a reference to the NJAC. Existing vacancies will be notified to the
NJAC within thirty days of the Act entering into force. When a vacancy
arises due to the completion of term, a reference will be made to the
NJAC six months in advance. For vacancies due to death or resignation,
within thirty days of its occurrence.