New Delhi: Sixteen states have ratified a constitutional amendment bill which seeks to scrap the collegium system of judges appointing judges, bringing the government a step closer to put in place a new mechanism of appointments in the higher judiciary.
Any Constitutional amendment bill requires ratification by at least 50 per cent of the state legislatures.
Sources said the Law Ministry has been informed by 16 of the 29 states that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) bill has been ratified.
The names of all the states which have ratified the bill was immediately not known.
The Rajya Sabha Secretariat which had earlier this year sent the bill to the states for ratification is expected to receive authenticated copies of their approval in the coming days.
Goa, Rajasthan, Tripura and Gujarat had last month ratified the bill. Also, UP assembly had ratified the bill last month with an amendment amid protests by BJP MLAs.
Once the ratifications have been formally received, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent.
Parliament had in August cleared the bill that will facilitate setting up of a commission for appointment of judges, replacing the 20-year-old collegium system, which has been under severe criticism.
The bill will make way for the setting up of National Judicial Appointments Commission, which will appoint and transfer judges to the Supreme Courts and the 24 High Courts.
The bill will grant Constitutional status to the NJAC and its composition.
Chief Justice of India will head the NJAC.
Besides the CJI, the judiciary would be represented by two senior judges of the Supreme Court. Two eminent personalities and the Law Minister will be the other members of the proposed body.