SC to hear validity of judicial panel today

SC to hear validity of judicial panel today

Advocates say it will undermine independence

SC to hear validity of judicial panel today

A petition contending that the 121st Constitution Amendment Bill setting up of the National Judicial Appointments Commission severely affected the independence of judiciary will come up before the Supreme Court on Monday.

The Supreme Court Advocate-on-record Association (SCAORA) had questioned the move of the NDA government to include executives in the appointment process of judges which is so far being done through a collegium.

“The proposed bill as passed by the two Houses of Parliament, by providing for a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) takes away the collective opinion of chief justice and two senior most judges of the SC ... even if all three senior most judges of the Supreme Court of India collectively recommend an appointee, the appointment is liable to be vetoed by the other three members — one of whom is part of the executive (Minister in government) and the other two “eminent persons”) not selected unanimously but among the prime minister, CJI and leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha,” it said.

It claimed that the provision in the bill stating that NJAC would not recommend a person for appointment if any two members do not agree for such recommendation would open possibilities for erosion of independence of the judiciary and wholly transfer the power of appointment of judges to the executive.

A bench of justices Anil R Dave, J Chelameswar and A K Sikri will hear the petition by SCAORA and four others, including one by former Additional Solicitor General Biswajit Bhattacharya.

SCAORA claimed that the 2014 bills passed by both Houses of Parliament was “in contravention of the basic structure of the Constitution and as such should be declared invalid and void”.