The Supreme Court may have struck down a law on appointment of judges to the higher judiciary but the government has asserted its right again. It said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that Parliament has the “power” to govern the criteria for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.
“…Parliament shall have the power within parameters of the Constitution to govern the criteria and process for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts,” Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in a written reply.
On October 16, the Supreme Court had struck down the the National Judicial Appointments Act 2014. Gowda’s assertion came after a number of members asked the government if it proposes to review the law. They also sought details of the proposed “follow up” action after the court verdict.
Gowda said after the order, the collegium system of appointment of judges has been again declared as operational. The Supreme Court is considering “appropriate measures” to improve the working of the collegium system and , the government has submitted its suggestions, he said.
“The government has taken the stand that it reserves its liberty to take such action as it may decide fit and nothing in the suggestions made by the government or participation in the proceedings ought to be construed as the government being stopped from such action,” he said.
This is the first time the law minister has spoken in Parliament on the court verdict on NJAC Act. During a discussion on commitment to the Constitution in the Rajya Sabha last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that no position of law “can ever justify” a situation where the Chief Justice of India appoints other judges and everyone else becomes irrelevant.