HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

SC agrees to hear pleas against new judicial bill

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 21, 2014
First Published: 13:03 IST(21/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:47 IST(22/8/2014)

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear petitions challenging a constitutional amendment replacing the collegium system of appointing judges with a national judicial appointments commission (NJAC).

The petition filed by the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) has been settled by eminent jurist Fali Nariman, who had publicly said he would challenge the constitutional amendment.

The petition was mentioned by advocate Sushil Kumar Jain before a bench headed by CJI RM Lodha, which agreed to examine the plea along with three other petitions on the issue.

The court said these petitions would be listed soon in view of the great importance attached to the issue.

The matter is likely to be taken up on Monday.

The 121st Constitution amendment bill and NJAC Bill passed recently by Parliament propose to set up a panel comprising the CJI, two senior-most SC judges, Union law minister and two “eminent persons” to appoint high court and Supreme Court judges.

It would replace the two-decade-old collegium system under which a group of top judges judges appoint judges of the higher judiciary.

In its petition SCAORA contended that NJAC was unconstitutional and invalid as the bill amending Article 124(2) of the Constitution that provides for the mechanism to appoint SC judges was passed subsequent to the bill relating to NJAC.

The Constitution amendment bill should have been passed and ratified by the state assemblies before the NJAC Bill was passed and not simultaneously, it contended.

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