Millennium Post

NDA govt to have relook at key Law Min bills pending in RS

The fate of seven key legislations of the Law Ministry introduced by the previous UPA government and pending in the Rajya Sabha, including one seeking to scrap the present system of judges appointing judges, will be decided by the Narendra Modi dispensation in the coming days.

With the Budget session of Parliament slated to commence in the second week of July, the Legislative Department of the Ministry has started compiling the bills so that the Union Cabinet can take a call.

According to a recent circular of the Cabinet Secretariat, bills cleared by the Union Cabinet but yet to be enacted as laws will ‘need to be placed before the Cabinet’ for decision as to whether they are to be pursued in the present form or any change is required to be carried out.

While assuming charge last month, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had made it clear that the establishment of a National Judicial Commission to give Executive a say in appointment of judges is a priority for the Modi government. 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 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,’ he had told reporters.

A parliamentary nod eluded the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill despite the UPA-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 other key legislations pending in the Upper House include three dealing with creation of Legislative Councils in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Assam. After facing resistance in Parliament, the UPA government had promulgated an ordinance on the Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies (3rd) Bill, 2013.

It provides for the readjustment of constituencies for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to ensure adequate representation to members of these castes and tribes as included and excluded from the lists of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes by eleven Amendment Acts of Parliament. The ordinances promulgated twice have lapsed in January.

The Cabinet will also have to take a call on the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014 which seeks to enhance the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil suits of the Delhi High Court from the existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore.

The legislation aims at reducing workload of the Delhi High Court by transferring thousands of civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, to the nine district courts in Delhi.

Another Bill, The Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Conditions of Service) Bill, 2014, seeks to bring uniformity in the service conditions of various tribunals of the country. It was introduced by the UPA-2 government on Supreme Court directions.

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