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On December 16, 2015, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which had struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission as unconstitutional, had left the task of preparing the Memorandum of Procedure to the Central government.
A year and three months later, the exercise has borne fruit after a long tug-of-war.
Times of India reports that the Supreme Court Collegium has finalised the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP). As per the report, the Collegium has agreed to the ‘national security clause’ which the Centre was not willing to concede. The Collegium agreed to the same on the condition that specific reasons are recorded by the Centre for invoking the said clause during appointment of judges.
Further, a Secretariat will be set up in the Supreme Court and every High Court will be required to maintain a database of judges and to assist the Collegium in the process of selection of judges to higher judiciary.
As per the December 16 order of the Supreme Court, the Central government was required to amend the existing MoP in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The CJI, in turn, was required to consult the Collegium in this regard.
The Court had also given a series of broad suggestions for the Government to consider while amending the MoP.
Despite all these, the Centre and the Supreme Court were not able to reach a consensus regarding the MoP, with the apex court opposing a number of proposals made by the Centre.
On February 13 this year, the Court had clearly stated that it will finalise the MoP soon. This remark was made by CJI JS Khehar in a petition filed by one Satya Veer Sharma seeking consideration of trial court lawyers for appointment to higher judiciary.