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  • Cabinet to decide on granting constitutional status to JAC

    Published on December 25, 2013

    The Union Cabinet is likely to take a call on Thursday on the issue of granting constitutional status to a proposed panel for appointment and judiciarytransfer of judges to the higher judiciary to ensure that its composition cannot be altered through an ordinary legislation.

    Conceding to the demands of the judiciary and the Opposition BJP, the Law Ministry is learnt to have accepted the recommendations of a standing committee that the composition as well as the functions of the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should be mentioned in the Constitution as a safeguard against future changes.

    The Cabinet is expected to take a final call on the issue tomorrow.

    According to the proposal, while new Article 124 A of the Constitution will define the composition of JAC, Article 124 B will define its functions.

    At present, the composition of the proposed panel is defined in the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 which was introduced along with a separate constitutional amendment bill in Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session.

    The constitutional amendment bill says there will be a JAC but does not say it will be headed by the CJI or mentions the composition.

    While the constitutional amendment bill – an enabling bill – was passed by the Upper House, the main bill – the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 was referred to the standing committee.

    The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill defines the establishment of the proposed body to recommend appointment and transfer of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts.