Government bats for parliament`s supremacy

The government Tuesday said it favoured an independent judiciary, but also wanted parliament`s sanctity to be maintained.

New Delhi: The government Tuesday said it favoured an independent judiciary, but also wanted parliament`s sanctity to be maintained.

"We all want an independent judiciary, but the sanctity of parliament is equally important, which we all appreciate," Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while moving for the consideration of the Lok Sabha two bills which seek to replace the collegium system of appointing judges.

"The government doesn`t have any intention of intervening in the rights, jurisdiction or authority of the courts of India. Their powers are well known, their independence is well known and their institutional integrity is also well known," he said.

The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2014 and the Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill seek to regulate the procedure to be followed for recommending people for appointment as chief justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court as well as the high courts and their transfer.

The two bills were introduced in the lower house Monday by the minister, who had earlier in the day withdrawn the UPA government`s Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 in the Rajya Sabha.

Prasad said in the Lok Sabha Tuesday that separation of powers was important and a part of the constitution.

He said: "The government doesn`t have any intention whatsoever to have any confrontation with the judiciary. We respect the judiciary as an article of faith."

The law minister appealed to all members of the Lok Sabha to rise above all considerations and ensure that the judiciary`s dignity is maintained.

Prasad told the Lok Sabha members that they were passing a historic legislation.

The Lok Sabha has shown that when the time comes the country`s polity speaks in one voice, he said.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill seeks to put the proposed judicial commission and its entire composition in the constitution.

According to the proposal, the chief justice of India will head the commission.

Besides the chief justice, 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 panel.

The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill needs to be passed by two-thirds majority.

Participating in the discussion on the bill, Congress` Veerappa Moily said the constitution amendment bill was a unique one.

"It is a unique bill," he said adding the proposal was not ushered in earlier by the UPA government only to avoid conflict with the judiciary.

"We have to preserve the integrity of the judiciary," he added.

BJP`s SS Ahluwalia said: "We want to preserve the judiciary, but it is the prerogative of the parliament to pass laws".

AIADMK`s M Thambidurai said his party was for upholding the independence of the judiciary.

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