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Judicial commission, SIT on black money priority areas: Ravi Shankar Prasad

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: The establishment of a National Judicial Commission to give executive a say in appointment of judges and setting up an SIT (special investigation team) on black money stashed abroad are the priority areas for the Narendra Modi government, newly-appointed law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

Prasad, who took charge as law minister on Tuesday morning, also said increasing the strength of judges, improvement of court infrastructure to make justice more accessible and making India a hub of international arbitration and reconciliation cases will also remain his priority areas.

Responding to questions on the move of successive governments to replace the present collegium system where judges appoint judges, Prasad, who is himself a lawyer, said establishment of National Judicial Commission is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto. “Surely I will go through the existing instrument which is there. If there is a need for some improvement or some more consultation, we may consider it. But today (Tuesday), I will have to go through it in some more detail,” he told reporters.

A parliamentary nod eluded the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill despite the United Progressive Alliance-II government in its last days agreeing to the demands by jurists and BJP to grant constitutional status to the proposed commission for appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary to ensure that its composition cannot be altered through an ordinary legislation.

The last effort to replace the collegium system in 2003 did not succeed. The then National Democratic Alliance government had introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill but the Lok Sabha was dissolved when the bill was before a Standing Committee. Finance minister Arun Jaitley was the law minister then.

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