[JURIST] India’s President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee [official profile] approved the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill [text, PDF] on Wednesday to modify the judicial selection process in the nation’s supreme courts and 24 high courts. The bill replaces [Times of India report] the 20 year-old collegium system, which was criticized within India in recent years. The Chief Justice of India [Supreme Court of India website] will run the NJAC, along with two senior judges of the supreme court, two eminent personalities and the law minister. The NJAC bill was pending before parliament for nearly two decades and it is a major reform [Hindustan Times report] in the judicial affairs of India. Moreover, the bill may become the 124th amendment to the Constitution of India [National Portal of India site]. As many as 16 of the 29 Indian states have ratified the bill, and any Constitutional amendment requires ratification by at least 50% of the state legislatures.
The Indian judiciary is traditionally independent [JURIST op-ed] from the Indian government, including parliament. The current NJAC bill was introduced [PRS India report] in India’s parliament, the Lok Sabha [official website], by the Minister of Law and Justice on August 11, 2014. Legal experts in India argue [Times of India report] the NJAC is preferable to the collegium system and it was not rushed through the parliament, as many critics have said.