New Delhi: Ignoring strong opposition from Congress, Government today withdrew in Rajya Sabha UPA`s bill for making judicial appointments and promised to replace it with a new and comprehensive one as other opposition parties supported the move.
Congress got isolated in the Upper House as members from Samajwadi Party, BSP, AIADMK, DMK and TMC openly supported the government`s bid to reform the judicial appointments process, with some asking Congress not to oppose the move only for the sake of it.
Congress, which is the largest party in the 245-member House with 69 members, opposed the move for withdrawing the bill brought during its regime saying amendments in the earlier bill be brought instead.
Moving the motion to withdraw The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the previous government had brought two bills in this regard, including a Constitutional Amendment Bill, which has lapsed.
He said the government intends to bring fresh bills now as the bill being withdrawn was sent to the Standing Committee which made certain recommendations and the new bill will include all such suggestions including putting the composition of the Judicial Appointments Commission as part of the Constitution.
"The present government proposes to bring two new bills - a Constitutional Amendment Bill and another bill, improving upon the recommendations of the Standing Committee," he said.
Prasad`s remarks that the bill that he seeks to withdraw was "disapproved" by the standing committee evoked sharp reactions from Congress, which said the bill was not rejected or withdrawn by the committee.
The Minister was forced to withdraw his words as the Standing Committee Chairman Shantaram Naik, which looked into the previous bill, said the panel had never rejected or disapproved the bill but only gave recommendations.
Raising the objections at the time of introduction of the motion to withdraw the bill, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the bill was being brought in haste.
"The normal practice is that once the bill is introduced, it becomes the property of the House, and can only be amended and not withdrawn. We have objections to withdrawing the bill," he said.
The motion was, however, adopted as opposition parties like SP, BSP, AIADMK, DMK and TMC stood by the government, while Left and JD-U also appeared in agreement.