Former Supreme Court judge Balbir Singh Chauhan was Thursday appointed Chairman of the 21st Law Commission, a post lying vacant since September 2015. “Govt. appoints Dr. Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, SC judge, as Chairman, 21st Law Commission,” Law Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda tweeted. Justice Chauhan (66) is currently heading the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
A judge of the Supreme Court from May 2009 to July 2014, he also served as the Chief Justice of Odisha High Court from July 2008 to May 2009.
Justice Ravi R Tripathi (62), a former judge of the Gujarat High Court, has been appointed as member of the law panel. He retired as judge in May 2015.
One of the key issues pending before the law panel is a call on amending the Indian Penal Code amid allegations of abuse and arbitrary use of the law. The Law Ministry has also urged the Commission to study the usage of the provisions of Section 124A (Sedition) of the IPC.
Last year, the Law Ministry had forwarded a list of 48 former judges of high courts and Supreme Court to the Prime Minister’s Office to select the next Law Commission Chairperson.
The term of the 20th Law Commission ended on August 30 last year and the Union Cabinet approved creation of the 21st Law Commission on September 9. The Law Ministry brought out a notification to create the 21st law panel on September 14 last.
The Commission is reconstituted every three years and is usually headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or former Chief Justice of a high court.
The panel will have to look at the issue of revamp of the criminal justice system and recommend a bail law to ensure uniformity in the procedure of granting the relief. The two issues are pending with it for a long time.