Judicial commission should not have veto power: Justice Shah

Law Commission Chairman Justice (retd) AP Shah on Sunday flagged certain issues in the proposed judicial commission for appointment of judges and said it should not be given veto power as it may give rise to "trade-offs".

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 06, 2014, 01:13 AM IST

New Delhi: Law Commission Chairman Justice (retd) AP Shah on Sunday flagged certain issues in the proposed judicial commission for appointment of judges and said it should not be given veto power as it may give rise to "trade-offs".

He also termed the proposed law for it as a "missed opportunity" as it carried some "flaws" of the existing collegium system.

"It (veto power of the commission) should not be there. Veto power has given rise to trade-offs, such as you take my candidate, I will take your candidate", he said at a function here attended by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Justice Shah did not appear to oppose the commission but flagged some of the provisions, saying the commission would be no different than the collegium system unless the flaws are discussed.

"It (the proposed law) is a missed opportunity. The government should have discussed it properly," he said.

The commission would comprise the Chief Justice of India, two senior-most sitting apex court Judges, the Union Law Minister and two eminent persons to be chosen by a three- member body that comprises the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition or leader of single largest opposition party and the Chief Justice.

The flaw, he said, lay in the appointment of the two eminent persons by the three-member body. "How can he appoint a judge when he has no knowledge of law. In my view, one of them should have been a distinguished jurist," he said.

The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was passed by Parliament during the Budget Session. It needs to be ratified by half of the states before the commission can start functioning.

Shah was part of the consultation process the government had initiated before framing the bill.

He had earlier said that the national judicial commission should be a full-time body and not a body of ex-officio members as proposed in the bill.

He had also voiced concerns if the commission is in disagreement and the CJI is in minority, will it still go ahead to appoint an eminent person suggested by the political group.