Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 with reference to appointment of judges in higher judiciary in India.

The Supreme Court had declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act “unconstitutional and void”.

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.

The commission was established by the 99th constitutional amendment of India in 2014.

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.

Collegium System: It is a system through which the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges, and the lawyers of the Supreme court and High court are decided.

The forum consists of the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of SC.

Further developments: The apex court decided to bring more transparency to the collegium system by focusing on four parameters i.e. the possibilities, eligibility, proper mechanism to deal with complaints against judges, discussion on the idea of the separate secretariat.

Comment: The power of the appointment of the judges should not be vested with any political institutions. More independence will assure more fair justice.

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