Supreme Court Bar supports Govt move to replace collegium

Supreme Court Bar  supports Govt move to replace collegium

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) today strongly favoured in the Supreme Court the laws, meant to replace the collegium system of judges appointing judges, saying that there has been "unanimity" that the present mechanism has "serious pitfalls".

"There is unanimity in the view that there are serious pitfalls in the collegium system," SCBA president and senior advocate Dushyant Dave told a three-judge bench headed by Justice A R Dave.

The government of the day is free to notify the Act at a "politically opportune" time, the bar leader said, adding, "the Constitutional amendments are never stayed by the courts and even for staying an Act, extreme caution should be exercised and it can be done in the rarest of rare cases."

He said that the pleas, challenging the validity of the Constitutional Amendment Act & the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, are "premature" as they have not been notified.

"You cannot test a law on the premise that it may be abused in future," Dave told the bench, also comprising justices J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur and sought dismissal of pleas opposing the laws.

Referring to senior advocate F S Nariman's arguments against the laws, Dave said, "Mr. Nariman has said it publicly he is sad that he appeared in the second judges case (which had paved way for collegium system)".

In his rejoinder submissions, Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, took his defence to the laws to a higher level and said, "even if the Act is notified tomorrow, there would not be any cause of action unless it is operational and something happens in a specific case."

Earlier, the AG had said pleas were "premature" as the laws have not come into force in the absence of notification and there was also no cause of action.

Terming the petitions of "academic interests", Rohatgi today referred to a case law and said, "It is well settled in the Minerva Mills case that the Supreme Court does not decide academic questions".

At the outset, Dave cited various case laws in support of his arguments that the pleas were "premature" and should not be entertained at this stage and the government is free to notify at the time convenient to it.

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