SC raises queries on removal of eminent persons from NJAC

SC raises queries on removal of eminent persons from NJAC

SC raises queries on removal of eminent persons from NJAC

The Supreme Court today  raised questions over the lack of provisions in the law for removal of two eminent persons from the six-member National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) and sought to know whether there was any scope for judicial review of their selection.

"These eminent persons would be there for three years. How will you (Centre) remove them. Therefore, the selection of eminent persons in the commission has to be unquestionable process or there should be a process of removal," a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said while hearing petitions challenging the validity of the NJAC Act.

"Is there any scope of judicial review of the appointment of eminent persons in the NJAC? Suppose an eminent cricketer is appointed and somebody says that he is not so eminent to be in the panel, then what is the remedy," it said.

The court's observation came minutes after Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi started advancing arguments on the manner of selection and the roles to be played by two eminent persons in the six-member NJAC.

The court took on Centre's plea that NJAC is a "broad-based" and "transparent" method to appoint judges by saying that if it refuses to appoint a person of "shady" character as a judge, then he may file a defamation case.

"Sometimes there is no proof that the person is of shady character," the bench said, adding that subjecting judges' appointment to the RTI may lead to defamation for those rejected on "doubtful integrity".

"Then scrap the RTI," the AG said, adding, "there are pluses and minuses of a system. Such information can be protected under RTI also."

"It is disastrous either way, if a lawyer, who applies, is appointed or rejected," the bench said.

Then somebody must suffer for the larger good, the AG said.

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