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NDA will scrap 'undemocratic' collegium system: BJP ally

Last updated on: May 26, 2024 20:33 IST

Former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday expressed hope that upon return to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance will make a fresh attempt at scrapping the "undemocratic" collegium system of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.

IMAGE: Union Minister Amit Shah with former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha during a rally in in Karakat Lok Sabha constituency. Photograph: @AmitShah/X

Addressing an election rally in Karakat Lok Sabha constituency from where he is in the fray, Kushwaha made the statement in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

"The collegium system has many flaws. It is undemocratic. It has shut the doors of judgeship in the higher judiciary on Dalits, OBCs and even the poor among the upper castes," claimed Kushwaha, who heads the Rashtriya Lok Morcha (RLM).

"If we look at the composition of the bench in the Supreme Court and the high courts, it is dominated by members of a few hundred families. A reason why the anomalous system has been criticised by no less than the current president and her predecessor," he added.


Kushwaha, who was the minister of state for HRD in the first Narendra Modi government, recalled the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill which was brought in 2014.

"For some reason, it was struck down by the Supreme Court," he lamented.

Lashing out at RJD president Lalu Prasad, the NDA partner questioned his "social justice credentials", claiming "he had been a Union minister and an important ally of the UPA for the entire period the Congress-led coalition in power. But never did he raise a voice against the collegium system".

Referring to the corruption scandals against the RJD supremo, Kushwaha said "we cannot expect a principled stand on such issues from someone who keeps oscillating between jail and bail".

"It was the NDA that dared to bite the bullet on the thorny issue of collegium system. And it is the NDA which will continue to make efforts in this direction," he said.

Notably, Kushwaha has been a votary of reservations in higher judiciary and, despite switching allies a number of times, has not diluted his stand on the contentious issue.

The OBC leader also bristled at "rumours spread by detractors" that he had opposed the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections introduced by the Modi government.

"I had supported the bill. If anybody can show any evidence that I had opposed it, I will retire from politics," he said, apparently wary of an upper-caste backlash in the elections.

Polling is scheduled in Karakat on June 1 and Kushwaha is locked in a three-cornered contest with Raja Ram of CPI(ML) Liberation and Bhojpuri superstar Pawan Singh who is contesting as an Independent and is expected to cut into a sizeable share of Rajput votes despite expulsion from the BJP.

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