New Delhi: On a day the Supreme Court reserved its order on the validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission, government today indicated that it may allow the apex court to define the criteria for selection of two eminent persons to be part of the new body to appoint and transfer judges.
Sources in the government also said that it was not averse to watering down a clause in the NJAC wherein two persons in the six-member body can veto a recommendation.
The government had earlier made it clear that the criteria as to who can be appointed as eminent person can be decided by the panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha/leader of single largest opposition party in the lower house and the Chief Justice of India.
The same panel will also recommend the names of the two eminent persons in the NJAC.
The sources said government is now open to the apex court laying down the criteria for eminent persons.
The government's stand is based on the proceedings in the apex court which was hearing the validity of the new law which scrapped the collegium system where judges appointed judges.
The Supreme Court today differed with the Centre on the provision in NJAC to appoint two eminent persons and said inclusion of layman in the new method for appointment of judges "cannot work".
"If you are talking of bringing layman to the NJAC, bring them here also(SC). Why are lawyers and judges sitting here. It's not right, it cannot work," a five-judge bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said.
The observations came during the final round of marathon hearing, which concluded today on the 31st day with the bench reserving its judgement on the constitutional validity of the NJAC Act.
According to newly-inserted Article 124A of the Constitution, out of the two eminent persons to be nominated one will be nominated from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities or women.
Section 5 of the Act states that if any two members of the Commission do not agree with the recommendation, the Commission will not make the recommendation.