SC dismisses review petition against NJAC judgement

A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected a plea by 'National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms', represented by its general secretary Rohini M Amin and others, to reconsider the Constitut

The Supreme Court has dismissed a review petition against the October 16, 2015 judgement that had quashed the Union government's law to set up the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), replacing the Collegium system for appointment of judges in the high courts and the top court.

A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected a plea by 'National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms', represented by its general secretary Rohini M Amin and others, to reconsider the Constitution bench judgement.

The bench, also comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph (since retired), A M Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan, dismissed the review petition on the ground of delay as well as on (lack of) merits.

“There is a delay of 470 days in filing the present review petition, for which no satisfactory explanation has been offered. The review petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of delay alone,” the bench said.

“Even otherwise, we have carefully gone through the review petition and the connected papers. We do not find any merit in the same,” the bench said in its order passed on November 27 and released on Saturday.

Accordingly, the top court also dismissed applications seeking hearing of review petition in the open court and for permission to engage a counsel.

In accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, the review petitions are decided in judges' chambers through circulations without any oral argument.

The petitioners, among others, contended the process of judges appointing themselves led to "nepotism and widespread progeny judges syndrome." The court by the Collegium system assumed the executive and the legislative role, which established judicial oligarchy and went against democratic principles.

The top court's five-judge bench presided over by then CJI J S Khehar had declared as unconstitutional the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act by which a six-member body, the NJAC was set up and Articles 124 and 217 were amended, and Articles 124A, 124B and 124C were inserted in the Constitution. The NJAC was to be headed by the CJI and comprised two senior most judges, the law minister and two eminent persons for making appointment of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court in a broad-based and transparent manner.

The amendment, passed by both Houses of Parliament, had received the assent of the President on December 31, 2014.

Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association, along with others, approached the top court challenging the Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act for violating the basic structure and affecting independence of the judiciary.

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SC dismisses review petition against NJAC judgement

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