National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), a plan proposed by the Legislature of our country for the appointment & transfer of the member of the Bar Council to the Higher Judiciary & transfer the Hon’ble Chief Justice & other Judges of the from one state to another.
This commission was set up by amending the Constitution of India, by the Ninety-Ninth Amendment, Act 2014 which was passed by the Lok Sabha & the Rajya Sabha in the month of August 2014. NJAC basically replaced the previous Collegium System which had the power to appoint & transfer the Judges of Hon’ble Judiciary but this was a plan of the new system for carrying out these functions was clearly opposed & even struck down by the Highest Court of Judiciary of our country.
Constitutionality of the Act
Several petitions were filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to check the validity of this new Act passed by the Legislature of our Country. Earlier the Supreme Court by the majority of 4:1 held this new Act to be unconstitutional as it would leave no judicial capacity to have a check on the executive but one of the Judges of the five Judges bench, namely, Hon’ble Justice Jasti Chamleshwar who have the dissenting view on this matter & held it be valid in the eyes of law after hearing several petitions with Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, as they were the first and leading petitioners on this matter. Hon’ble Justice Jasti Chamleshwar even stated that the NJAC would act as a check between the Judiciary & Executive branches.
However, even later on, in a collective order, on 16 October 2015, the Hon’ble Supreme Court by a majority of 4:1 struck down the NJAC Act, 2014, which was meant to replace the two-decade-old collegium system of judges appointing judges in the higher judiciary and laid the foundation of a new era.
Merits of the NJAC
- The earlier collegium system was facing a lot of allegations that it paved a way for nepotism & Corruption in the Independent Judiciary while NJAC would bring transparency in the Judicial System of our nation.
- It would put an end to the mechanism of nepotism & will lead primacy of the Judiciary.
- Appointments in the earlier collegium system were highly opaque. And, the worst part was even the rest of the Judiciary did not about the selection process
- The NJAC comprises three members within the Judiciary & three outside the Judiciary which keeps it even more balance.
- NJAC members comprise of the Veto powers with them. If two members of the commission did not agree on the common matter then certainly that subject has to be dropped.
De-Merits of NJAC
- It is often said that NJAC is a plot to bring the Judiciary within the clutches of the Executive.
- It is even believed that NJAC might curb the independence of the Judiciary. This feature is one of the cornerstones in assuring the faith in democracy.
- The NJAC may bring conflict between the Independent Judiciary & the Executive which would cause serious repercussions on our democratic nation.
- NJAC acts more inclined towards the Executive than the Independent Judiciary.
- NJAC provides a selection of very wide criteria. This may bring a shuffle by the choices laid down by the Independent Judiciary.
Saksham Srivastava | Author, LawTree Club