Moving the Constitution (120th) Amendment Bill, 2013, that provides the executive a say in the appointment of judges to higher judiciary, Sibal said in the Rajya Sabha that a balance needs to be restored in the appointment of judges and the executive must have a say in appointment of judges.

He said that the Constitutional Amendment Bill was being moved in the house as the present system does not work.

Sibal said that the delicate balance of independence of the high court judiciary has been disturbed with the Supreme Court Collegium - a group of senior judges of the apex court - deciding on the appointment of judges.

"The high courts are meant to be independent of the Supreme Court, and not subordinate to it. Now high court judges look to Supreme Court judges for their appointment, which has disturbed the delicate balance of independence of the high court in the country," Sibal said

He also added that the government did not want to revert to the pre-1993 position when the executive alone had a say in judges' appointment, but wanted a collaborative exercise.

"How are judges chosen, there is no access or transparency to that decision as the Right to Information does not apply. What the judiciary says must apply to the executive, it must also apply to the judiciary," he said.

 Sibal said that the time has come to regulate the appointment of judges, and the criteria for appointment would be set out in great detail.

He also said that there was concern at the manner in which the relatives of judges were practicing in the high courts. "It is very sad the way in which the 'chachas' and 'bhatijas' of some judges are practicing in the court." Sibal introduced the main bill - Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 - aimed at creating a Judicial Appointments Commission for appointing judges to the Supreme Court and 24 high courts along with the Constitutional (120th) Amendment Bill last week in the upper house.

(Agencies)

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