Collective order of SC strikes down judges’ appointment commission

Supreme court to begin soul-searching and seeks centre’s suggestions

GN Bureau | October 16, 2015


#appointment commission   #judges   #national judicial appointments commission   #NJAC   #justice   #J S Khehar   #J Chelameswar M B Lokur   #Kurian Joseph   #A K Goel  


The verdict has been termed as a collective order of the highest court of the land and it brings judiciary in direct conflict with the legislature, which claims to represent the will of the people of India. In a ‘collective order’ today, the supreme court struck down on the national judicial appointments commission (NJAC) law meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary.

The court held that the collegium system as it existed before the NJAC 'operative' even though during the course of arguments in the case, attorney general Mukul Rohtagi had declared that the collegiums ‘was dead’.

Read more: Revamping justice: My Lord, heavens have fallen!

A Bench of five judges of the SC held the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act 2014 "unconstitutional and void".  The verdict quashing the NJAC Act was delivered by a five-judge constitution bench comprising justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel which also rejected the plea of Central government to refer for review to larger bench the 1993 and 1998 verdict of the apex court on the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

While four judges held as unconstitutional the 99th amendment of the Constitution, justice J Chelameswar differed with them and gave his own reasons for upholding its validity. Justice Chelameswar said he has "upheld" the constitutionality of the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act but recused himself from passing any judgment on the NJAC statute as the majority of four had already held it unconstitutional.

Read more: Bridging trust deficit in judicial appointments

Justice Khehar, who pronounced the judgment for the bench, said that the system of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice and judges of the high courts and transfer of judges from one high court to another has been existing in the Constitution prior to the 99th amendment.

"Help us decide for a better system of judicial appointments," justice Khehar told the Centre and the petitioners. The Bench said that the judgment was the "collective view of the court".

The bench listed the petitions on November 3 to invite suggestions to improve the working of the existing collegium system.  Justice Khehar said each one of us have recorded their reasons and order has been jointly signed.

The Bench struck down on the government's arguments that the question of validity of the NJAC and the 99th Constitutional Amendment should be referred to a larger Bench in light of the two 'Judges Cases' of 1993 and 1998.

The NJAC Act was meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary. The SC rejected the plea of Centre that the petition challenging NJAC Act be referred to a larger Bench.

The NJAC was a body created to end the two-decade-old collegium system of judges appointing judges to the highest courts in the land.

The parliament had unanimously voted in favour of the NJAC law and the Constitutional Amendment. The latter was then ratified by 20 State Assemblies and had received the Presidential assent.

Noted jurists like Fali Nariman, Anil Divan and Ram Jethmalani were among prominent senior advocates who had argued against the NJAC replacing the collegium system.

Comments

 

Other News

Bank loan recovery in recent years has mirrored Hindu rate of growth

At the outset, for those who are not familiar with the nomenclature ‘Hindu Rate of Growth’, it refers to the low economic growth in post-independent India till the 1990s, when several economic liberalisation measures were undertaken. Till the 1990s, the growth rate was around 4%, which accelera

“Indian Navy needs more capabilities to build ships”

As India faces increasing threats from China and Pakistan on sea, Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-chief (FOC-in-C), Western Naval Command, has said that the Indian Navy needs to scale up its capabilities and have more budgets allocated. Speaking to members of t

Mumbai issues strict guidelines for home quarantine of all international passengers

In view of the emerging threat of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) Saturday issued strict guidelines for surveillance of all international travellers arriving in the metro and especially those from ‘at risk’ nations. Outlining SO

Omicron: Maharashtra revises travel guidelines

A day after the union health secretary wrote to it that its order on SOPs for air travellers was in divergence with guidelines issued by the MoHFW, GoI in view of the Omicron threat, the Maharashtra government on Thursday revised its guidelines for passengers arriving in the state. Issuing

Omicron: Centre asks Maharashtra to follow uniform guidelines

With the threat of Omicron, the new variant of the coronavirus, looming large, the union health ministry has written to the Maharashtra government to align orders issued by the state with the ministry’s guidelines for uniform implementation. The state government in its order dated Nove

Central Railways runs over 800 Kisan Railway trips

To ensure bigger access to farm produce and provide new markets with quick transportation and subsidy at 50%, the Kisan Rail has been bringing prosperity, joy, and hope to farmers of Maharashtra. On November 28, the Central Railway ran its 800th  trip of Kisan Rail from Sangola to Muzaffarpur.

Visionary Talks: Dr. Naresh Trehan, CMD Medanta Heart Institute with Kailashnath Adhikari



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter