NJAC: The National Commission For The Appointment Of Judges And Its Fate
By Team Legistify / 2017-07-12
Debate around the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) has often been emotive rather than dispassionate, with the discourse ranging from senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani calling it an “evil absurdity” to attorney general Mukul Rohatgi pointing to judges who habitually turned up late in court as a reason to ditch the existing collegium system to select judges. A truly Polarizing issue in its entirety.

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The NJAC proposes to make the appointment of High court and Supreme Court judges and chief justices more transparent. They will be selected by the commission, whose members will be drawn from the judiciary, legislature and civil society. Until the NJAC came along, Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution dealt with the appointment of judges of the higher judiciary. The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) established under the NJAC Bill 2014 , seeks to replace the over two-decade-old collegium system followed for the appointments of the judges of Supreme Court and the 24 high courts. The headquarters of the commission was to be in New Delhi.

99th amendment

The 99th amendment, substituted the words “after consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as the President may deem necessary for the purpose”, in article 124 with the words,  “on the recommendation of the National Judicial Appointments Commission referred to in article 124A”.

It also inserted article 124A, which provided the composition of this commission. The NJAC would comprise of the chief justice of India (chairman), two other senior Supreme Court judges, union law minister, and two eminent persons. These eminent persons would be nominated by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in the House of the People. One of the eminent people shall be nominated from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities or Women.

The procedure to be followed by the commission would be regulated by the NJAC act. According to proviso of section 5 of the act, “Commission shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members of the Commission do not agree for such recommendation ”.

Debate around the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) has often been emotive rather than dispassionate, with the discourse ranging from senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani calling it an “evil absurdity” to attorney general Mukul Rohatgi pointing to judges who habitually turned up late in court as a reason to ditch the existing collegium system to select judges. A truly Polarizing issue in its entirety.

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