Gowda to ask states to ratify constitutional amendment for NJAC

New Delhi : Union Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda Monday said Rajasthan, Goa and Tripura have already ratified the constitutional amendment to set up the judicial appointment panel to replace the existing collegium system for appointment of Supreme Court and high courts judges and asked the other states to follow suit.

Noting none of the states were opposed to the constitutional amendment paving way for setting up the National Judicial Appointment Commission, Gowda said he would be writing to all the states asking them to ratify the constitutional amendment at the earliest.

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Gowda, who was moved from railways to the law ministry after the Narendra Modi ministry’s first expansion/reshuffle Sunday, was speaking to media persons soon after taking over the charge of his new portfolio.

For an amendment to the constitution to be effective in certain cases including on the procedure for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary, the constitutional amendment should be passed by one half of the total state assemblies.

Gowda said that the task of the law ministry was to carry out the mandate and vision of the Prime Minister Modi and the steps already initiated by his predecessor Ravi Shankar Prasad would be continued.

Listing out his priorities, he said that his objective would be reduced the number of litigations by the state and also the legislations. He said that the mind-set that all the contentious issues could be solved by enacting a law has to change.

He said electoral reforms should be looked into seriously and the issue has to be widely debated in public.

Gowda said that people needed to be educated that social issues could not be addressed by enacting laws. Favouring a mechanism to address contentious issues, he said that only those issues that actually require legal intervention should be adjudicated.

The minister said that Coal Mines Ordinance would be placed before the winter session of the parliament for passage.

To a query whether he thought his shifting from railways to law was scaling down of his position in the government, he said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to decide who should get what portfolio.