Amidst Collegium Row, CPI (M) MP Tables National Judicial Commission Bill In Rajya Sabha

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Raghav Chadha opposed the bill, saying the concept of NJAC has come under consideration of the Supreme Court three times in 1993, 1998 and 2016.

Rajya Sabha

A private member bill to regulate the appointment of judges through the National Judicial Commission was on Friday introduced in Rajya Sabha by CPI(M)'s Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya but was opposed by AAP MP Raghav Chadha.

Revival of NJAC?

The National Judicial Commission Bill, 2022 was introduced after the majority of voice votes were in its favour. Bhattacharyya moved the bill that aims to regulate the procedure to be followed by the National Judicial Commission for recommending people for appointment as the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices and other judges of High Courts.

The bill, if approved, will also regulate their transfers and to lay down judicial standards and provide for accountability of judges, and establish credible and expedient mechanism for investigating into individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge of the apex court or of a high court and to regulate the procedure for such investigation.

It also proposes for the presentation of an address by parliament to the president in relation to proceeding for removal of a judge and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

AAP voices opposition

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Chadha opposed the bill, saying the concept of NJAC has come under consideration of the Supreme Court three times in 1993, 1998 and 2016.

"All three times, while giving importance to independence of judiciary, the Supreme Court dismissed the framework of the NJAC. I have stood to oppose the NJAC which my honourable colleague has introduced," Chadha said.

"We are attempting to do an constitutional impossibility. I think a system of judges appointment, collegium system is working very well. There can be scope of improvement in it which can be done through conversation with judiciary. We should not give any handle to central government so that they enter in appointment of judges," Chadha said.

Ongoing tussle between the Judiciary and Executive

The Bill comes at a controversial time as the Supreme Court and the central government seem to have locked horns with regards to the Collegium system of appointing judges. As a matter of almost daily occurrence, government functionaries have challenged the system's credibility, with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju describing it as 'alien' to the Constitution. 

A day earlier, however, while responding to a question by CPI (M) MP John Britas on whether the government plans to bring a law to revive the NJAC, Rijiju said in a written reply that "at present there is no such proposal."

(With inputs from PTI)