October 16, 2015
Supreme Court strikes down NJAC, collegium system to continue
India TV News Desk [
Updated 16 Oct 2015, 11:09:51 ]
New Delhi: In a landmark judgement, Supreme court today struck down centre’s National Judicial Accountability Commission bill (NJAC) upholding the current collegium system for appointment of judges.
The apex court rejected the plea of Centre that the petition challenging NJAC Act be referred to a larger bench which was meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary. The ground for unconstitutionality is that it violates the basic structure of the constitution, the court said.
While four judges– Justices J S Khehar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel declares the 99th amendment unconstitutional , Justice J Chelmeswar hold its valid. The court has fixed November 3 to hold further hearing on the issue of improving the collegium system of appointment of judges.
A bench comprsing Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was slated to pronounce the verdict on the fate of the Constitutional 99th amendment paving way for the NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014
The Centre on Thursday sharply criticised the erstwhile collegium system of appointing judges saying that it did not follow the principle of meritocracy in which many "undeserving" persons became judges, some of whose names it gave in the Supreme Court. The verdict on the challenge to the validity of both acts was reserved on July 15 after the five-judge bench heard arguments over 28 hearings over three months. The petitioners and others had contended that constitutional amendment paving way for the NJAC Act, 2014, got affected only on December 31, 2014 after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to it following more than two-third of the state assemblies ratifying it.
The petitioners had also opposed the provision for two eminent people on the NJAC and veto power allowing any two NJAC members to block an appointment they opposed, but the government defended it, saying that it gave diversity and a say to people with non-judicial background in judges’ appointment. During the hearings, the bench had raised many questions as to how two eminent people with no judicial background could contribute in judges’ appointment.
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