Seeking to overturn the present collegium system of appointment of judges through a Constitution amendment, government on Tuesday said it has no intention to interfere in the authority of the Judiciary.
Responding to a day-long debate on the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 in Lok Sabha, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government favours independence of judiciary but the "sanctity" and "supremacy" of Parliament is equally important as it reflects aspirations of the people.
He said the Modi government has "no intentions" to interfere in the power and authority of the Judiciary and was only acting to have a "fair procedure" to appoint judges to higher judiciary. This it intended to do while properly maintaining the "judicial dignity", he said.
In his unfinished reply, Prasad said on Tuesdays debate on the legislation has brought out that Parliament can have a high level of debate where members have the ability to rise above party affiliations.
The Law Minister will complete his reply tomorrow following which voting will take place for the two bills brought to set up a new mechanism for appointment of judges.
Government has brought a Constitution Amendment Bill to establish a six-member body for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Besides, it has brought in the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014.
While The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014 seeks to put the proposed Commission and its entire composition in the Constitution, the other legislation lays down the procedure to be followed by the proposed body for appointment of Supreme Court judges and transfer and appointment of Chief Justices and other judges of the High Courts.
The debate saw some including M Thambidurai of AIADMK, Dharmendra Yadav (SP) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) pitching for a separate state-level commission to deal with appointment and transfer of Chief Justices and other judges of the 24 High Courts.