New Delhi [India], December 8 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill that seeks to bring clarity concerning the date of eligibility of additional quantum of pension to a retired judge.
Replying to the debate on the bill which concluded on Tuesday, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that it is not written in the memorandum of procedure "that you have to make an appointment in so many days" and expressed reservations over the judgement of Supreme Court made earlier this year.
"It is a larger question which is not part of the Memorandum of Procedure but if the Supreme Court gives a direction, then we have to take a call. That is why I am indulging the House. You cannot question how long you want to keep it pending... I agree with whatever emotion the member is generating. But it is not wise to stick to a timeline for particular names of the judges. It will not send a right signal," he said.
The minister referred to the judgment delivered by a bench headed by then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant and said in the Mahanadi case it was stated that if there is a second reiteration, then it is mandatory for the government to make an appointment in three-four weeks.
"It was made mandatory that the Government has to appoint judges whose names are there in the reiterated cases. I do not want to comment but if such judgements come from Supreme Court or High courts, we are not challenging the judiciary but we may need to revisit the provisions of the constitution," he said.
"My words and my statement should not be construed as a challenge to the independence of the Judiciary, but I also believe that when there is the independence of the judiciary, then there is the independence of the executive also and there is the independence of the legislature also because it has been defined by the Constitution of India," he added.
The minister did not go into detail about remarks by some members about the NJAC verdict.
"When a Bill or an Act passed by Parliament is struck down by the Supreme Court, then it is a larger issue for all of us to consider and discuss. I may take it up later on. Maybe, in due course of time, the issues will come up again. But in today's time, since we are dealing with a very specific case, I would not like to dwell much on the question of NJAC right now," he said.
He said the appointment process of judges is going on smoothly.
"From the Government side, there is no effort to scuttle or to create any kind of slow down in the process of appointments. Some of the allegations are also not correct to say that the government is stopping some of the names recommended by the Collegium. We all have to understand that Government cannot just remain a mute spectator or we cannot just sign on any of the names. We have to do due diligence," he said.
The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed by the House with a voice vote.
The bill seeks to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act and The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act.
The bill proposes to insert an explanation in section 17B of the High Court Judges Act and in section 16B of the Supreme Court Judges Act to clarify the intention of the government.
Lok Sabha members had expressed concern over the pendency of cases in courts with many of them making suggestions to increase the retirement age of judges.
Some members also suggested bringing uniformity in retirement age of judge of Supreme Court and High Courts.
A BJP member also said that the government should revisit the NJAC judgement and come out with a new bill with "corrections". (ANI)