Not against judicial appointments bill, but want to study it: Cong

New Delhi:  Facing isolation in Rajya Sabha over its stand against the Judicial Appointments Bill, Congress today said it was “not opposed” to the amendments but would take a decision in the matter only after “examining” the changes.

“We are not opposing it… The concept was ours. Congress has not opposed it. It has raised a question… We want to see the architecture of the new bill… and examine it,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma told reporters at an AICC briefing.

The remarks follow the government’s move to introduce a new bill in Lok Sabha which is designed to replace the current collegium system of appointment of judges. The NDA government earlier ignored opposition from Congress to withdraw from Rajya Sabha a 2013 bill concerning judicial appointments which was drafted by the previous UPA dispensation.

“Where did we oppose. They (BJP) are again misleading… Seeking clarifications and opposing something are two different things… I do not think we have the same enlightenment as BJP to oppose everything,” Sharma added.

To a specific question as to whether or not Congress would support the bill, Sharma said, “You are asking me to write answers to a question paper which is yet to be printed.”

Opposing the “hasty manner” in which the NDA government had tried to withdraw the earlier bill and bring in the new one, Sharma, who is the Deputy Leader of House in Rajya Sabha, demanded further consultations on it in the Upper House.

He had also demanded that the views of the members of the Standing Committee, which had suggested changes in the bill, should be taken before it was withdrawn.

However, backed by open support from Samajwadi Party, BSP, AIADMK and DMK and no opposition from Left, the government today withdrew the old bill in the Upper House before the new one was introduced in Lok Sabha.

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