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Constitutional amendment bill to end collegium in RS

Posted on Aug 14 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Rajya Sabha Wednesday took up the constitutional amendment bill which will create a judicial appointments commission.

The Constitution (99th Amendment) Bill and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 lay down the procedure to be followed by the proposed body for appointment of Supreme Court judges and transfer and appointment of chief justices and other judges of the high courts.

The Constitution (99th Amendment) Bill seeks to put the proposed judicial appointments commission and its entire composition in the constitution.

Both the bills were passed in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

The two bills pave the way for scrapping the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges.

While both the bills were taken up in the Lok Sabha together, in Rajya Sabha, a discussion was held in the house whether consideration of both the bills together was constitutional.

Several members raised the issue that the constitutional amendment bill will need to be passed first and receive presidential assent before the second bill can be moved in the house.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad agreed to this and the constitutional amendment bill was moved alone.

The minister also said the bill is an outcome of over 20 years of consultations.

"To allay the apprehension that there has been any hurry in bringing this bill, I want to say that this has been going on since past 20 years. This government has taken cognisance of 20 years of consultation," Prasad said.

The government does not enjoy a majority in the Rajya Sabha, unlike in the lower house, and has 59 members in the 243-member upper house.

A constitution amendment bill needs two-thirds majority to be passed and the government will need the support of other parties to pass the bill.

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