Key Bills recently in news: Summary report 1

Key Bills recently in news: Summary report 1

Key Bills recently in news: Summary report 1

Bills

Key Bills recently in news: Summary report

Q1.  Discuss the salient features of ‘The Juvenile Justic ( Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. 

 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill , 2014

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)Bill, 2014 was introduced by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, in the LokSabha on August 12, 2014. It repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
  • Objectives: The Bill seeks to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by India on December 11, 1992.
    It specifies procedural safeguards in cases of children in conflict with law. It seeks to address challenges in the existing Act such as delays in adoption processes, high pendency of cases, accountability of institutions, etc. The Bill further seeks to address children in the 16-18 age group, in conflict with law, as an increased incidence of crimes committed by them have been reported over the past few years.
  • Coverage: The Bill defines a child as anyone less than 18 years of age. However, a special provision has been inserted for the possibility of trying 16-18 year olds committing heinous offences, as adults. A
    heinous offence is defined as one for which the minimum punishment under the Indian Penal Code is seven years.
  • General principles: These include
    • (i) principle of presumption of innocence for any child up to the age of 18 years;
    • (ii) principle of best interest for all decisions taken regarding the child;
    • (iii) principle of institutionalization stating that a child shall be placed in institutional care as a step of last resort, etc.
  • Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs): One or more JJBs to be constituted, for each district, for dealing with children in conflict with law. JJBs are composed of a  Metropolitan or Judicial Magistrate and two social
    workers, one of whom shall be a woman.
  • Powers and responsibilities of the JJBs include:103
    • (i) ensuring legal aid for a child;
    • (ii) adjudicating and disposing of cases related to children in conflict with law;
    • (iii) conducting regular inspection of adult jails to ensure no child is lodged in such jails and other inspection visits and;
    • (iv) conducting inspection visits of residential facilities for such children.
Children’s Court: A Children’s Court is a Court established under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 or a Special Court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. It will try 16-18 year olds that commit heinous offences, after confirming that they are fit to be tried as adults. It ensures that a child in conflict with law is sent to a place of safety until he attains the age of 21
years, after which he is transferred to a jail. During the child’s stay in the place of safety, reformative services such as counselling, etc. shall be provided.The Court shall ensure periodic follow up reports by
District Child Protection Units.
 
Child Welfare Committees (CWCs): States shall constitute one or more CWCs for each district for dealing with children in need of care and protection. The powers and responsibilities of a CWC include:
(i) conducting inquiries;
ii) selecting registered institutions for the placement of a child and;
(iii) addressing orphans, abandoned children, surrendered children and sexually abused children, etc.
ƒSpecial Juvenile Police Units (SJPU) and Child Welfare Police Officers:
An SJPU will be established in each district, consisting of a police officer and two social workers. One Child Welfare Police Officer will be present in every police station.
Adoption: Prospective adoptive parents must be consenting. A single or divorced person can also adopt, but a single male cannot adopt a girl child. Parents must be physically fit, financially sound, and mentally alert and motivated to adopt. Regulations regarding adoption shall be framed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority.
 
Penalties: Any official, who does not report an abandoned or orphaned child within 24 hours, is liable to imprisonment up to six months or fine of Rs 10,000 or both. The penalty for non-registration of child care
institutions is imprisonment up to one year or fine of one lakh rupees, or both. The penalty for giving a child intoxicating liquor, narcotic or psychotropic substances is imprisonment up to seven years or fine
of one lakh rupees, or both.
 
  •  The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 7, 2014. It proposes to amend the Apprentices Act, 1961. 
  • The Act regulates the training of apprentices in the industry. An Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) had recommended various changes to the Act to make apprenticeship more responsive to youth and industry.
    The Statement of Objects and Reasons states that the amendments proposed in the Bill are based on IMG’s recommendations.
  • Definitions: The Bill amends the definition of appropriate government to include an establishment operating in four or more states to be regulated by the central government. It also amends the definitions of:
    (i) designated trade, 

          (ii) graduate or technician apprentice, 102

          (iii) trade apprentice,
           (iv) industry and
           (v) worker.
 The Bill adds two definitions:
                    (i) optional trade, and (ii) portal-site.
  • Minimum age for an apprentice: The Act sets the minimum age for being engaged as an apprentice at 14 years. The Bill adds that the minimum age for apprenticeship in designated trades related to hazardous industries shall be 18 years.
  • Number of apprentices: The Act says that the central government, after consulting the Central Apprenticeship Council (CAC) established under the Act shall determine the ratio of trade apprentices to workers (except unskilled workers) for each designated trade. The Bill states that the central government shall prescribe the number of apprentices to be engaged by an employer for designated trade
    and optional trade. 
  • Cooperation between employers for training: The Bill permits multiple employers to come together, either themselves or through an approved agency (vs. only themselves as per the Act), to provide
    apprenticeship training (vs. practical training as per the Act) to apprentices under them. 
  • Practical training to apprentices: The Act states that every employer shall make suitable arrangements in his workshop for imparting practical training to apprentices, as per the programme approved by the Adviser. The Bill removes the requirement for Adviser’s approval. 
  • Basic training to apprentices: The Act states that trade apprentices who have not received prior institutional training shall be imparted basic training before admission in the workshop for practical training. The Bill specifies that such training can be provided in any institute with adequate facilities. 
  • Syllabus and equipment for practical training:The Act states that the syllabus and equipment for practical training shall be as approved by the central government (with CAC consultation). The Bill limits
    the provision for training in a designated trade only.
  • Grant of certificate: The Act specifies that every trade apprentice should appear for a proficiency test conducted by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT), on completion of his training. On passing the test, NCVT shall grant him a certificate of proficiency. The Bill adds that such tests may be conducted and certificates may be granted by other authorised agencies as well.
  • Hours of work, overtime, leave and holidays: The Act states that the weekly and daily hours of work and leave entitlements of an apprentice shall be as prescribed by Rules. The Bill states that the hours of work and leave will be as per the discretion or policy of the employer.
  • Offences and penalties: The Act specifies certain offences which are punishable with imprisonment upto six months or with a fine (quantum unspecified) or both. The Bill specifies the amount/maximum amount of the fine and removes the provision for imprisonment for such offences.
  • Power to make Rules: The Act permits the central government (after consulting with the CAC) to make Rules for implementing the Act. The Bill states that these powers shall include the power to make Rules retrospectively with effect from a date on or after the President grants his assent to the Bill. No Rule shall have a retrospective effect if it prejudicially affects he interests of any person to whom such Rule may be applicable. 

Bills

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014 

 
  • The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 7, 2014.  It proposes to amend the Factories Act, 1948. 
  • The Act aims to ensure adequate safety measures and promote the health and welfare of the workers employed in factories.  The Statement of Objects and Reasons states that the amendments proposed in the Bill are based on the changes in the manufacturing practices and technologies, ratification of ILO conventions, judicial decisions, recommendations of various Committees and decisions taken in the conferences of Chief Inspectors of Factories.
  • Definitions:  The Act defines a factory as any premises (with certain exceptions) where manufacturing was undertaken with aid of power and at least 10 people were employed during the last 12 months (20 or more people if no power was used).  The Bill specifies that the state government may raise the minimum number of workers employed in the definition to 20 (if power is used) and 40 (if power is not used).
  • The Bill also amends the definitions of: (i) hazardous process, (ii) manufacturing process, (iii) occupier, and (iv) prescribed.  It adds the definitions of: (i) hazardous substance, and (ii) disabilityimage001
  • Power to make Rules:  The Act allows the state government to make Rules regarding various matters.  The Bill grants the central government power to make Rules regarding some of these matters. 
  • The Act permits the state government to make Rules regarding any matter which: (i) is covered by the Act or may be prescribed, or (ii) is appropriate to give effect to the purposes of the Act.  The Bill states that the state government’s power to make Rules will be restricted to matters where the central government does not have such powers.  The central government may frame Rules in consultation with state governments, to bring uniformity in the areas of occupational safety, health or any other matter.   
  • Compounding of offences:  The Bill seeks to permit the central or state government to prescribe the authorised officers and the amount, for compounding of the certain offences before commencement of the prosecution.  The central or state governments may amend the list of compoundable offences.
  • Employment of women and persons with disability:  The Act prohibits women from working: (i) on certain machines in motion, (ii) near cotton-openers, and (iii) between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM.  The Bill seeks to remove the first two restrictions.  It proposes to empower the state government to allow women to work during night hours in a factory or group of factories if: (i) there are adequate safeguards for safety, health and comfort of women (including night crèches, ladies’ toilets and transportation from the factory to their residence), and (ii) it has held due consultations with and obtained the consent of the women workers, the employer and the representative organisations of the employers and workers. 
  • The Bill seeks to impose restrictions on employment of pregnant women and persons with disability in certain works or processes.
  • Manufacturer’s liability to ensure safety:  The Act places the liability of ensuring that an article to be used in a factory is safe on the designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer.  The Bill extends such liability to the designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer of any substance used in a factory.
  • Workers’ safety:  The Bill introduces provisions for: (i) supply of protective equipment and clothing to workers exposed to hazards, and (ii) rules regarding hazardous processes.  It modifies the provisions regarding: (i) precautions against dangerous fumes and gases, (ii) explosive or inflammable dust or gas, and (iii) dangerous operations.
  • Facilities for workers:  The Act mandates a factory employing more than 150 people to provide shelters or restrooms.  The Bill states that a factory with more than 75 workers should provide separate shelters or restrooms for male and female workers. 
  • Overtime and paid leave:  The Bill increases the maximum number of overtime hours allowed to a worker and relaxes the provisions regarding entitlement of workers to paid leave.
  • Penalties:  The Act specifies the penalties for various offences.  The Bill raises the penalties for 12 of these offences (including contraventions by the occupier or manager, a worker, or a designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer of an article or substance).     

Bills

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014

  • The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawar Chand Gehlot on July 16, 2014.  
  • The Bill replaces the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014. 
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.  The Act prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.
  • Actions to be treated as offences:  The Act outlines actions (by non SCs and STs) against SCs or STs to be treated as offences.  The Bill amends certain existing categories and adds new categories of actions to be treated as offences. 
  • Forcing an SC or ST individual to vote or not vote for a particular candidate in a manner that is against the law is an offence under the Act.  The Bill adds that impeding certain activities related to voting will also be considered an offence.  Wrongfully occupying land belonging to SCs or STs is an offence under the Act.  The Bill defines ‘wrongful’ in this context, which was not done under the Act. 
  • Assaulting or sexual exploiting an SC or ST woman is an offence under the Act.  The Bill adds that: (a) intentionally touching an SC or ST woman in a sexual manner without her consent, or (b) using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature, or (c) dedicating an SC or ST women as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will also be considered an offence.  Consent is defined as a voluntary agreement through verbal or non-verbal communication. 
  • New offences added under the Bill include: (a) garlanding with footwear, (b) compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging, (c) abusing SCs or STs by caste name in public, (d) attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs or STs or disrespecting any deceased person held in high esteem, and (e) imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott. 105
  • Preventing SCs or STs from undertaking the following activities will be considered an offence: (a) using common property resources, (c) entering any place of worship that is open to the public, and (d) entering an education or health institution.
  • The court shall presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim if the accused had personal knowledge of the victim or his family, unless the contrary is proved.
  • Role of public servants:  The Act specifies that a non SC or ST public servant who neglects his duties relating to SCs or STs shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of six months to one year.  The Bill specifies these duties, including: (a) registering a complaint or FIR, (b) reading out information given orally, before taking the signature of the informant and giving a copy of this information to the informant, etc. 
  • Role of courts:  Under the Act, a court of Session at the district level is deemed a Special Court to provide speedy trials for offences.  A Special Public Prosecutor is appointed to conduct cases in this court. 
  • The Bill substitutes this provision and specifies that an Exclusive Special Court must be established at the district level to try offences under the Bill.  In districts with fewer cases, a Special Court may be established to try offences.  An adequate number of courts must be established to ensure that cases are disposed of within two months.  Appeals of these courts shall lie with the high court, and must be disposed of within three months.  A Public Prosecutor and Exclusive Public Prosecutor shall be appointed for every Special Court and Exclusive Special Court respectively. 
  • Rights of victims and witnesses:  The Bill adds a chapter on the rights of victims and witness.  It shall be the duty of the state to make arrangements for the protection of victims, their dependents and witnesses.  The state government shall specify a scheme to ensure the implementation of rights of victims and witnesses.
  • The courts established under the Bill may take measures such as: (a) concealing the names of witnesses, (b) taking immediate action in respect of any complaint relating to harassment of a victim, informant or witness, etc.  Any such complaint shall be tried separately from the main case and be concluded within two months.   
 

Bills

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010

 

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 fixes liability for nuclear damage and specifies procedures for compensating victims.
  • The Bill fixes no-fault liability on operators and gives them a right of recourse against certain persons.  It caps the liability of the operator at Rs 500 crore.  For damage exceeding this amount, and up to 300 million SDR, the central government will be liable.
  • All operators (except the central government) need to take insurance or provide financial security to cover their liability.
  • For facilities owned by the government, the entire liability up to 300 million SDR will be borne by the government.
  • The Bill specifies who can claim compensation and the authorities who will assess and award compensation for nuclear damage.
  • Those not complying with the provisions of the Bill can be penalised.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The liability cap on the operator (a) may be inadequate to compensate victims in the event of a major nuclear disaster; (b) may block India’s access to an international pool of funds; (c) is low compared to some other countries.
  • The cap on the operator’s liability is not required if all plants are owned by the government. It is not clear if the government intends to allow private operators to operate nuclear power plants.
  • The extent of environmental damage and consequent economic loss will be notified by the government.  This might create a conflict of interest in cases where the government is also the party liable to pay compensation.
  • The right of recourse against the supplier provided in the Bill is not compliant with international agreements India may wish to sign.
  • The time-limit of ten years for claiming compensation may be inadequate for those suffering from nuclear damage. 
  • Though the Bill allows operators and suppliers to be liable under other laws, it is not clear which other laws will be applicable.  Different interpretations by courts may constrict or unduly expand the scope of such a provision.

The National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009

In order to provide quick clearance for cases related to environmental damage, this Bill sets up the National Green Tribunal. The tribunal will hear cases related to major environmental damage as well as appeals under various environmental Acts.
NGT

Highlights of the Bill

  • The National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009 aims to set up specialised environmental courts in the country.
  • The Bill replaces the existing National Environmental Appellate Authority and has wider jurisdiction than the NEAA.  It will hear initial complaints as well as appeals from decisions of authorities under various environmental laws.
  • The Tribunal shall consist of both judicial and expert members.  Judicial members must have been judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts.  Expert members have to possess technical qualifications and expertise, and also practical experience. 
  • The Tribunal shall hear only ‘substantial question relating to the environment’.  Substantial questions are those which (a) affect the community at large, and not just individuals or groups of individuals, or (b) cause significant damage to the environment and property, or (c) cause harm to public health which is broadly measurable.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The criteria to determine what a ‘substantial question related to the environment’ are open to interpretation. 
  • The Bill may reduce access to justice in environmental matters by taking away the jurisdiction of civil courts.  All cases under laws mentioned in the Bill will now be handled by the Tribunal which will initially have benches at only five locations.
  • The Bill does not give the Tribunal jurisdiction over some laws related to the environment.
  • The qualifications of judicial members of the Tribunal are similar to that of the NEAA.  The government has been unable to find qualified members for the NEAA for the past three years.  The Green Tribunal Bill gives an explicit option to the government to appoint members with administrative experience as expert members.
  • The Bill does not specify the minimum number of members the Tribunal and also does not mention of the composition of the Selection Committee for selecting members.  Some other laws that establish tribunals specify the persons who shall decide, or be consulted.  

Bills IAS Mains

The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2010

  • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 8, 2010. It amends the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • The Energy Conservation Act empowers the government to specify norms and standards of energy efficiency to be followed by different industries (who are specified in a schedule to the Act) in their use of power. Norms and standards of energy efficiency and conservation are also to be set for appliances and equipment, and the construction of buildings. The Act empowers state governments to enforce its various provisions.
  • The Act also establishes the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the central government to specify qualifications and certification procedures for energy auditors and managers who shall audit the use of energy by industries.
  • The Bill expands the scope of energy conservation norms for buildings and tightens the applicability of energy efficiency norms for appliances and equipment. It provides a framework within which savings on energy use can be traded between those industries who are energy efficient and those whose consumption of energy is more than the maximum set by the government. The Bill increases penalties for offences and provides for appeals to be heard by the Electricity Appellate Tribunal set up under the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • Under the Act, the government could specify energy conservation building codes for commercial buildings with a connected load of more than 500 kW or contract demand of 600 kVA. The Bill broadens the range of commercial buildings to which such building codes apply to those with a connected load of more than 100 kW, or contracted demand of more than 120 kVA.
  • Under the Bill, the central government can issue energy savings certificates to those industries whose energy consumption is less than the maximum allowed. Such certificates can be sold to other consumers whose consumption is more than the maximum allowable.
  • The Act empowers the government to specify energy consumption norms for equipment or appliances. The government can also prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase or import of notified equipment unless they conform to such norms. However, this prohibition can only be issued two years after the norms have been specified. The Bill reduces this time frame to six months, extendable by a further six months.
  • The Bill increases the penalty specified for offences committed under the Act. Each offence shall attract a penalty of Rs 10 lakh (Rs 10,000 earlier), with an additional penalty of Rs 10,000 for each day that the offence remains (Rs 1000 earlier). The additional penalty, for those industries who consume energy in excess of norms, will be the value of the excess energy consumed.106
  • The Act provided for the setting up of an Appellate Tribunal for Energy Conservation, which would hear appeals against orders of the central or state government. The Bill does away with this provision and provides for appeals against such orders to be heard by the appellate tribunal established under the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • The Bill increases the term of office of the Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency from three to five years. It provides for the Bureau, rather than the Central Government, to appoint its officers and staff.

Bills

The Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006

The Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 proposes to amend the IT Act to (a) make the authentication of electronic record technology neutral, (b) provide for protection of personal information, (c) change the name and constitution of the appellate tribunal, (d) limit the liability of intermediaries and (e) establish an examiner of electronic evidence. It specifies that publishing or transmitting of offensive or pornographic material in electronic form would be an offence. In addition the Bill amends the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to include new offences such as identity theft and recording or transmitting nude images of a person without his permission.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 amends the Information Technology Act, 2000.

  • The Bill makes a company handling sensitive personal data liable to pay compensation up to Rs 5 crore, if it is negligent in implementing reasonable security measures with respect to such data.

  • The Bill does not hold intermediaries liable for third party data or content made available by them. This protection is not absolute and intermediaries are required to remove unlawful data or content on receiving information about it.

  • The Bill proposes to enable authentication of electronic records by any electronic signature technique.

  • The Bill changes the name and the composition of the appellate tribunal. It also establishes an examiner of electronic evidence to give expert opinion on “electronic form evidence”.

Key Issues and Analysis107

  • The Bill enables the central government to intercept computer communication for investigation of any offence. Telephones and letters may be intercepted only to protect national interest, sovereignty etc.

  • Neither the IT Act nor any other law covers how personal information may be collected, processed, shared and used. While the Bill provides compensation for unlawful loss or gain arising from unauthorised use of data, it does not address the issue of breach of privacy.

  • Any person copying or destroying data without permission of the owner is liable to pay damages. The Bill does not cover situations in which an employee who has permission to access certain data misuses such data.

  • Intermediaries are not liable for third party data. They are required to remove unlawful content on receiving “actual knowledge”. This term is not defined.

  • The expert committee appointed to suggest amendments to the IT Act had recommended stringent punishment for child pornography. The Bill does not address this. The Standing Committee stated that the issue of unwanted commercial e-mails (spam) has not been addressed.

  • ƒ The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty- First  Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the LokSabha on August 11, 2014 by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad. 
  • ƒ According to the Statement of Objects and Reason of the Bill, there is a need for a broad based National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), for making recommendations for selection
    of judges. The Bill seeks to enable equal participation of Judiciary and Executive, ensure that the appointments to the higher judiciary are more participatory, transparent and objective. 
  • ƒ The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill amends the provisions of the Constitution related to the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges, and the transfer of High Court judges. 
  • Creation of the NJAC: Article 124 (2) of the Constitution provides that the President will make appointments of Supreme Court (SC) and High Court(HC) judges after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and other SC and HC judges as he considers necessary. The Bill amends Article 124 (2) of the Constitution to provide for a Commission, to be known as the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The NJAC would then make recommendations to the President for appointments of SC and HC judges. 
  • ƒ Composition of the NJAC: A new Article, Article 124A provides for the composition of the NJAC. The NJAC would consist of:
    (i) Chief Justice of India (Chairperson) (ii) Two senior most Supreme Court Judges (iii) The Union Minister of Law and Justice (iv) Two eminent persons (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minster of India and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha) 
  • Of the two eminent persons, one person would be from the SC/ST/OBC/minority communities or be a woman. The eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible
    for re-nomination. 108
    ƒ Functions of the NJAC: A new Article, Article 124B, provides for the functions of the NJAC which include: 
  • (i) Recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India, Judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of High Courts and other Judges of High Courts;
    (ii) Recommending transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court; and
    (iii) Ensuring that the persons recommended are of ability and integrity. 
  • ƒ Power of Parliament to make law on procedures: A new Article, Article 124C, enables Parliament to pass a law to:
    •  (i) regulate the procedure of appointments, and (ii) empower the NJAC to lay down the procedure for its functioning, and manner of selection of persons for appointment, through regulations.

 

The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 201
  • The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 11, 2014 by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad.
  • The Bill has been introduced in conjunction with the Constitutional (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014, which establishes the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  • The Bill provides for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court (SC), and Chief Justice and other Judges of High Courts (HC).

Reference to Commission for filling up of vacancies

  • When a vacancy arises in the SC or HCs, the central government will make a reference to the NJAC.
  • Existing vacancies will be notified to the NJAC within thirty days of the Act entering into force.
  • When a vacancy arises due to the completion of term, a reference will be made to the NJAC, six months in advance.
  • For vacancies due to death or resignation, a reference must be made to the NJAC within thirty days of its occurrence.

Procedure for Selection of Supreme Court judges

  • Chief Justice of India: The NJAC shall recommend the senior most judge of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India.  This is provided he is considered fit to hold the office.
  • SC judges: The NJAC shall recommend names of persons on the basis of their ability, merit and other criteria specified in the regulations.
  • Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two of its members do not agree to such recommendation.

Procedure for Selection of High Courts judges

  • Chief Justices of HCs: The NJAC is to recommend a Judge of a High Court to be the Chief Justice of a High Court on the basis of seniority across High Court judges. The ability, merit and other criteria of suitability as specified in the regulations would also be considered.
  • Appointment of other HC Judges:
  • Nominations: Nominations shall be sought from Chief Justice of the concerned High Court for appointments of HC judges.
  • Eliciting views: The Commission shall nominate names for appointment of HC judges and forward such names to the Chief Justice of the concerned HCs for his views.
  • In both cases, the Chief Justice of the HC shall consult two senior most judges of that HC and any other judges and advocates as specified in the regulations.
  • Views of the Governor and CM: The NJAC shall elicit the views of the Governor and Chief Minister of the state before making recommendations.
  • Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members of the Commission do not agree to such recommendation.
  • The NJAC is to make recommendations for transfer of Chief Justices and other judges of the High Courts.
  • The procedure to be followed will be specified in the regulations.
  • Transfer of Chief Justices and High Court judges:

Power of the President to require reconsideration

  • The President may require the NJAC to reconsider the recommendations made by it.
  • If the NJAC makes a unanimous recommendation after such reconsideration, the President shall make the appointment accordingly.

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