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Mamata wants guv’s say in judges’ appointment

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New Delhi : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants the Centre to clearly mention in National Judicial Appointments Bill that the Governor will have to follow the advice of the state government in the appointment of High Court judges.

Banerjee’s communication to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad came in response to a letter written by him to all Chief Ministers requesting them to ratify a constitutional amendment bill to make way for the proposed commission for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

Once the Commission is put in place, it will scrap the present collegium system under which judges appoint judges.

The West Bengal Chief Minister referred to Section 6 (7) of the bill dealing with appointment of the Chief Justice and other judges of the High Courts. The section states that “the Commission shall elicit in writing the views of the Governor and the Chief Minister of the state concerned before making such recommendation….”

Seeking to bring clarity, the Law Ministry will soon write back to Banerjee pointing out that under the Constitution, the Governor takes decisions on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, sources said. They said to ensure that the state governments have a say in appointment of the Chief Justice and judges of High Courts, the bill makes it clear that the views of the Chief Minister will be sought in writing. “The role of the Governor has to be seen in the constitutional sense. The Law Minister had clarified on the issue while replying to the debate on the bill in Parliament,” a senior official said. While the Rajasthan Assembly has already ratified the bill, other states are likely to take up the exercise in October and November when their Assembly sessions commence, they said.

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