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Parliament passes constitution amendment bill to end collegium

Posted on Aug 14 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 14 : The Rajya Sabha Thursday unanimously passed the Constitution (99th Amendment) Bill to do away with the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges, a day after the Lok Sabha passed the bill.

The bill, and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014, seek to put the proposed judicial appointment commission and its entire composition in the statute.

The bill got the support of 179 out of 180 members present in the upper house, while Ram Jethmalani, an Independent member, abstained.

"People want talented people to become judges," Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while winding up the debate on the bill.

Speaking on the bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it restores the original spirit of the constitution.

"Through this bill, the government seeks to restore the spirit of the original constitution. In simple English, this means that the president and the government will appoint judges to the Supreme Court," he said.

"It goes back to the constitution and article 124 which says Supreme Court judges should be appointed by the president," he said.

Passage of this bill was crucial for the government's confidence as it does not have a majority in the upper house. It has only 59 members in the 245-member house.

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.

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