Two Supreme Court bar associations have taken opposing stands on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). While the SC Advocates-on-Record Association has challenged its validity, SC Bar Association has supported NJAC that replaced the collegium system.
SCBA President and senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the present legislation was a “brilliant mixture of executives, judiciary and the civil society.” Dave said the previous collegium system has been shrouded in secrecy because of which Parliament had stepped in. “The Constitution does not empower judges to appoint judges. A constitutional authority must be mindful to perform their duty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SC on Wednesday restrained all the high courts from entertaining any petition against the new law to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice AR Dave passed the order when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said any challenge to the NJAC Act pending before a high court should be heard by the SC. The court fixed March 17 to hear the bunch of petitions against NJAC’s constitution.
Before Rohatgi asked for a restraint order, he objected to the hearing of the petitions on the ground it was too premature as the law was yet to be notified, though it has received Presidential assent. He said there was no question of an interim order to stay the operation of the law.
On whether the petitions’ were maintainable, the bench said it would decide next week. “Let us hear all the petitioners and then decide whether the matter should be referred to a larger bench,” the court said.