New Delhi: Against the backdrop of large scale vacancies in higher judiciary, government has made a key change in draft bill of the proposed National Judicial Commission which seeks to give the executive more say in appointment of judges.
According to the latest draft, the proposed Commission will be a single-tier body as against two tiers envisaged earlier.
Under the previous proposal, government had planned a two-tier system with one servicing the Supreme Court and the other the 21 High Courts of the country.
"Now, the single body will appoint judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. As and when inputs of a Chief Minister will be required for appointment of High Court judges, he will be called to attend the meeting," a top Law Ministry official told a news agency.
He said this will make the process of appointment of High Court Chief Justice or any other judge faster. At present, the inputs of the CMs are sought on file.
Government has been working on the draft of the proposed body for over a year now and reworked the draft on several occasions.
The opposition, mainly BJP, has already indicated that it will not settle for anything less than an independent body to appoint judges. Government needs BJP`s support to pass the proposal - as and when it comes through - since it entails a constitutional amendment.
Another constitutional amendment Bill of the Law Ministry, which seeks to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65 to make at par with Supreme Court judges, is pending in Lok Sabha. BJP is against such a move.