New Delhi: Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said he will strive to find a "common ground" between the government and the judiciary on the issue of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.
His remarks assume importance as the government is trying to iron out differences with the Supreme Court collegium on the memorandum of procedure (MoP) — a document which guides the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
"We will be consulting, we will be meeting in an effort to find a common ground on the issue of judicial appointments...There is need to work in harmony...We respect the independence of the judiciary," he told reporters in New Delhi.
Prasad was the Law Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and in the initial days of the Narendra Modi dispensation. He replaces DV Sadananda Gowda, who had succeeded him in November 2014.
Responding to a question, Prasad said he will make efforts to get the MoP finalised soon.
Asked if he will be meeting Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, he said the Law Minister should surely meet the CJI and he will be doing that.
He said one of his priorities, along with Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Choudhury, will be ensuring faster delivery of justice.
For that, he said, the focus will be on appointing the right people as judges and making the process of appointments transparent.
Prasad said that concerted efforts will be made to improve the infrastructure of courts which is essential for speedy justice.
Parliament had enacted the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act to overturn the over two decades old collegium system of judges appointing judges. But the law was struck down by the Supreme Court in October last year.
An apex court bench had asked the government to redraft the MoP after consulting the states.
The MoP, sent to the SC collegium, was returned to the government with certain objections. Former Law Minister Gowda had recently met the CJI to iron out differences on the issue.