Rajya Sabha passes bill to end collegium system

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The Rajya Sabha Thursday unanimously passed the Constitution (99th Amendment) Bill to do away with collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges.

The bill, and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014, seek to put the proposed judicial appointment commission and its entire composition in the statute.

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The bill got the support of 179 out of 180 MPs present in the upper house, while Ram Jethmalani of the ruling BJP abstained.

“People want talented people to become judges,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while winding up the debate on the bill.

Speaking on the bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it restores the original spirit of the constitution.

“Through this bill, the government seeks to restore the spirit of the original constitution. In simple English, this means that the president and the government will appoint judges to the Supreme Court,” said Jaitley.

“It goes back to the constitution and Article 124 which says Supreme Court judges should be appointed by the president,” he said.

Passage of this bill was crucial for government’s confidence as it does not have a majority in the upper house. It has only 59 MPs in the 245-member house.

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