One of the two eminent persons to be included in the National Judicial Appointments Commission will have to hail from communities belonging to SC, ST, OBC, minorities or be a woman under a provision in the bill being prepared in this regard.
The Union Cabinet, which had met on Wednesday to consider a Constitution Amendment Bill to usher in the Commission, also approved another provision under which Chief Ministers will have a say in selection of judges in High Courts.
Though the Chief Ministers are consulted even under the present collegium system, an explicit provision regarding taking the concurrence of the Chief Minister in writing was missing in the bill which was placed before the Cabinet. The situation was remedied by including the provision in the bill along with the one relating to eminent persons. Treading cautiously, government has decided to hold wider consultations on bringing the bill.
Government sources said today that the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 was discussed on Wednesday at the meeting of the Union Cabinet which has given its "in-principle" approval to the "broad contours" of the measure.
But the bill was not cleared as it was felt that the result of the wider consultations should be awaited, the sources said. The government is making efforts to bring the bill in the current session of parliament but would not like to take any hasty step in view of the sensitivity in the judiciary on the issue, they said.
According to the proposal, besides the Chief Justice, the judiciary would be represented by two senior judges of the Supreme Court. Two eminent persons and the Law Minister will be the other members of the proposed six-member body.
To allay the fears of the judiciary, the Commission would be given a constitutional status to ensure that any future government does not tweak then composition through an ordinary legislation.