Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)
I have never heard the Minister or anyone else describe in clear terms why it is needed to keep the Government in ignorance of those members of the Judiciary who are not shortlisted. No coherent answer has ever been given to us as to why that should happen. In all the 60 hours we have been here, the Minister has never justified keeping the Government in ignorance and in the dark about which members of the Judiciary were available or signalled their availability to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
I would take the point the Minister is making if he thought I was simply repeating it for the purposes of wasting time. What I am saying is that the Minister has never come to this House and explained precisely what advantage is given to the people or the Government or what honour is paid to the terms of the Constitution by putting into law a provision that the Government must make a decision in the dark in respect of its real choices. If the Minister wants to take some more time now to explain to me the exact advantage of saying that the members of the Executive should make a choice without knowing who was available, that is fine. The Minister may want to set that out here and now even in the absence of a quorum, which I am reluctant to ask for. Happily, all these proceedings are made available to the public over the Internet. If the Minister wants to explain to me precisely what advantage is served by that, then I will wait and listen carefully.