SCBA President suggests new law for SC, HC judges’ appointment

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Supreme Court Bar Association President and senior advocate Vikas Singh on Friday suggested a legislation to regulate the collegium system to facilitate the appointment of judges to the high courts and to the Supreme Court.

In his address at the inaugural ceremony of the Constitution Day celebration organised by the Registry of the Supreme Court, he said: “I am of the opinion that a suitable legislation in the form of a Bill to regulate the Collegium system can be brought within the said limitation which will facilitate the appointment of judges to the High Courts as well as to the Supreme Court.”

He added the Bill should provide a permanent secretariat, both at the high court and Supreme Court level, to assist them in the matter of appointment of judges as the members of the collegiums both at the Supreme Court as well as the high courts.

“The Collegium will determine the eligibility for appointment to the higher judiciary and the Secretariat would constantly update the list of persons who qualify as per the said eligibility. The said legislation will ensure that even members of the Supreme Court Bar Association who are so far neglected from consideration are regularly considered for elevation,” he said at the event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and the judges of the Supreme Court.

Singh said he had already drafted such a Bill, in his individual capacity, and had given it to the Law Minister.

He said that a parliamentary law to provide for a right of intra court appeal in the Supreme Court in matters of determination of rights under Article 32 will provide an opportunity for correcting any errors that may have crept in the original judgments of the Supreme Court under the constitutional provision.

“Many a times judgments under Article 32 transgress into the domain of the executive. Providing for intra court appeal will ensure the constitutional guarantee of proper justice and will also help in maintaining the discipline of separation of powers,” he said.

Singh also strongly spoke against criminalisation of politics. “Our experience in the recent past has been that persons with criminal background are getting elected to the Parliament and the percentage of such people which was 24 per cent in 2004 has progressively increased to 43 per cent to 2019. A situation has come now that persons who are alleged to have broken the law are in fact making laws,” he said.

He called for persons charge sheeted in heinous crimes should be debarred from contesting elections and persons convicted should also be debarred for life from contesting an election, by making appropriate amendment to the Representation of People Act, 1951. “If a person holding public office cannot be reinstated after conviction, there is no justification for a legislator to be eligible as such,” he said.

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