LS resents scrapping of NJAC Act by Supreme Court

LS resents scrapping of NJAC Act by Supreme Court

Cutting across party lines, parliamentarians on Monday resented restoration of collegium system by the Supreme Court for appointment of judges, saying the scrapping of the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act by the apex court was a rejection of Parliament’s supremacy.

They unanimously demanded in the Lok Sabha that the government must bring in a new NJAC bill to end the collegium system for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.
Some of the members also demanded amendments to the Constitution to ensure that the legislative supremacy of Parliament remains intact and the judiciary do not interference in its affairs in the  future. Many of the members also demanded legal provisions to stop post retirement appointment of judges in various government bodies.

The government, however, remained non-committal, saying it cannot comment on the Supreme Court’s order on NJAC Act and restoration of collegium system of appointment as the final verdict of the apex court was yet to come.

“I have taken note of your suggestions,” Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said.
The members of the Lower House expressed their resentment over scrapping of NJAC Act by the apex court during a discussion on a bill  to amend certain provisions of the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salary and Conditions of Service) Amendment, 2005, in compliance with an old judgment of the Apex Court.

“The Supreme Court is making law now. Whatever they are telling, we are following. When the Supreme Court says that (judgment of 2005 on salary and conditions of appointment of judges) the term and other things will remain like that, they are dictating things. Then why are we discussing it?” Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M Thambidurai asked the government, apparently sharing the resentment of the members over scrapping of NJAC Act.

Sadananda Gowda, while replying to the debate, tried to justify the government’s stand on the Supreme Court order on the NJAC Act and cited Article 142 of the Constitution, saying the apex court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
Congress member Veerappa Moily objected to Gowda’s explanation and asked him to take the advice of the AG.

“What is the role of Parliament then? You are saying we have to obey the judgments of the Supreme Court which is somewhat misleading the House,” Thambidurai said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy came to Gowda’s rescue, saying, “There was an observation by the Supreme Court that till Parliament frames a law, we are under certain constraints. This is what he was trying to explain.”
 
Gowda also clarified that he did not mean to say that Supreme Court’s judgments were binding on Parliament. “Parliament is supreme,” he said, reiterating the government cannot comment on the issue until final verdict of the apex court on NJAC Act. 

Members across parties, including AIADMK's K Kamaraj, TDP’s P Ravindra Babu and the BJP's P P Choudhary demanded a new bill for implementing the NJAC law.
The judges’ salaries bill was later passed by voice vote.

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