The Parliament passed two key bills which will put an end to the collegium system of appointment of judges, with the Rajya Sabha passing the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Thursday.
Lok Sabha had passed both the bills on Wednesday. The Constitutional Amendment Bill seeks to facilitate the constitutional setting up of a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges, while the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill will enable the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) to make recommendations to the President on the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary.
The Commission will comprise the Chief Justice of India, the next two most senior judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister and two eminent persons.
177 members voted in favour of the Judicial Appointments Bill, with three members voting against it, while 176 members voted in favour of the Constitution Amendment Bill with no votes registered against it, according to IBNLive.
In the Lok Sabha, the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2014 was passed by voice vote, along with one official amendment of the provision that requires unanimity in recommendation if the President seeks reconsideration. The Opposition had objection to the veto power this provision provides, and the government had to drop it from the bill.
The issue of the appointment of judges through the collegium system, wherein a group of Supreme Court judges decide on the appointments, has been raging in ever since former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju revealed instances of corruption in the system.
A majority of jurists themselves were in favour of changing the collegiums system during a review meeting called by the government last month.
The bills will now be sent to all the states and will need to be ratified by at least half of them, as the new law will also impact on the appointment of high court judges.
The passage of both bills by the Parliament is seen as a significant political victory for the Narendra Modi government.