Jaipur: National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2014, which is going to scrape the current collegium system of appointment of judges to Higher Judiciary in the country, was on Thursday ratified by Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
With this, the state became first in the country to ratify the Bill which was passed by Parliament recently.
NJAC bill, which was passed by both Houses of Parliament, tabled for ratify in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on September 15 and taken up for debate which lasted for six hours today.
Replying on the debate, Parliamentary Minister R S Rathor told the House that the new Bill would bring more transparency in judicial system including judges' appointments, and filling up the vacant posts in the Supreme Court.
"This would be a milestone in the history of the judiciary," Rathore said, adding that, the entire house was unanimous on this.
Rathore said there were 31 sanctioned posts of Judges in the Supreme court and 5 of them were lying vacant. Similarly, he said, 319 posts in high courts. In Rajasthan, 13 posts out of 40 are vacant, he said.
Cases in large number are pending in courts across the country and there are pendency of 3,07,640 cases in Rajasthan High court, Rathore said.
"Justice delayed is justice denied. We all agree that the judiciary should be free and independent, but?it will also have to be ensured that people's trust on the judiciary is not cut down," he said.
Rathore said efforts for reforms in judcial appointment
were made in the past also because collegium system is not as per the basic principle of the Constitution.
He said that amendments were brought and commissions were set up in the past also.
Rathore said that former union minister Virappa Moily had also expressed his view on judicial review in the past and his debate was a big document in itself.
After Rathor's reply, the Speaker passed it by a voice vote raised by both ruling and the Opposition Congress, NPP and Independents.
Cutting across the party lines, MLAs including Ghanshyam Tiwari (BJP), Pradhyuman Singh (Congress), Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Manak Chand Surana and Leader of Opposition R Duddi expressed their views and approved the Bill.
"This is in the interest of the people of the country and should have been done before," Dudi said.
Congress whip Govind Singh Dotasara said that a wide debate on all Bills should be done before the House passes it so that important suggestions could be incorporated.
The Constitution Amendment Bill required endorsement of at least 50 per cent of state Assemblies, and Rajasthan has become the first state to take it up in the House , Rathore said.
The Bill provides for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice and other Judges of High Courts (HC).