"NJAC has impinged upon independence of judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers."Argue.

The National Judicial Appointments Commission was established by the Union government of India by amending the constitution of India through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014. It replaced the over two-decade-old collegium system followed for the appointments of the judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts. The headquarters of the commission was to be in New Delhi.

NJAC Act

The National Judicial Appointments Commission was a proposed body that sought to give politicians and civil society the final decision in the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India.

Criticism

The act mandates the NJAC to recommend the name of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India. Provided, he must be considered fit to hold the office. NJAC shall recommend the names of persons on the basis of their ability, merit, and other criterion specified in the regulations. The main criticism is on the basis of the provision which says that the JAC cannot recommend a person for appointment as a judge if any two members of the commission oppose the recommendation. It takes away the power of the three ex-officio judges of the Supreme Court and provides a veto power to two non-judicial members to recommend a judge.

Judgment views

  • The procedure of appointment of judges can not be shared with the political-executive.
  • Only an independent body, isolated from any influence of other organs of governance, can safeguard the rights of the citizens.

Comment

Though the Supreme Court bench has revoked the NJAC act, it has conceded the constitutional defects in the collegium system of appointment and asked the citizens of India for suggestions to improve the system. However, the court should address the long-pending issues that had lent credibility to the demand for an NJAC. The court should develop zero tolerance for corruption and compromise.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“NJAC has impinged upon independence of judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers.” Argue.

Published: February 4, 2016 | Modified:September 23, 2020

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