MoP: Govt removes cap on appointment of lawyers as SC judges

New Delhi, Aug 17 (PTI) The government has acceded tosome demands of the collegium including removing the cap onthe number of jurists and lawyers who can be appointed to theSupreme Court as judges, even though it has hardened its standon certain key clauses of a document which guides the processof appointments to the higher judiciary. Sources in the government said that in the revised draftof the memorandum of procedure (MoP) — a document whichguides the appointment of judges to the apex court and the 24high courts — the government has acceded to the demand thatthere should be no limit on the number of lawyers and juriststo be appointed as judges. In the draft MoP sent to Chief Justice of India T SThakur in March, the government had referred to the issue ofappointment of lawyers and jurists as judges of the SC. The March draft had said that "up to three" judges in theSupreme Court should to be appointed from among the eminentmembers of the Bar and distinguished jurists with proven trackrecord in their respective fields. The collegium had felt that the cap should be removed andthe government has agreed to the proposition. As the government and the judiciary are trying tofinalise the MoP, the Supreme Court had on Friday observedthat the justice delivery system is "collapsing" and sent outa stern message to the Centre over non-execution of theCollegium’s decision to transfer and appoint chief justicesand judges in high courts, saying it will not tolerate the"logjam" and intervene to make it accountable. A bench headed by Justice Thakur said, "We won’t toleratelogjam in judges’ appointment which is stifling its judicialwork. We will fasten accountability". In the August 3 letter to the CJI, cleared at the highestlevel, the government has also agreed to seniority being bethe main criteria for elevation. In the earlier draft, thegovernment had insisted on merit-cum-seniority. In the revised draft, the government has, however,reiterated that it should have the power to reject any namerecommended by the Collegium on grounds of "national security"and "public interest". In May, the Collegium had unanimously rejected the clausesaying it amounted to interference in the functioning of thejudiciary. While in the March draft, the government had refused togrant authority to the Collegium to send the same name againafter it had been rejected, the new one says the governmentwill inform the collegium about the reasons for rejecting itsrecommendation. PTI NAB SMN DVSMN


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