NJAC Current Affairs

Supreme Court declares NJAC unconstitutional

Supreme Court has declared National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 and 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014 unconstitutional and void.

Ruling in this regard was given by five-judge Constitutional Bench of SC headed by Justice J S Khehar on a petition were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others.

SC bench has held that Collegium system will remain operative which was established by its earlier ruling of in 1993 for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

The petitions had challenged the new law on the selection and appointment of judges mentioning that it is unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary.

Backgroud

  • The parliament had unanimously passed the NJAC Act, 2014 and the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act. Both acts were meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary.
  • These Acts were passed in order to bring transparency in appointment of Judges and give executive i.e. elected public representatives a role in the appointment process.
  • The Constitutional Amendment Act was then ratified by 20 State Assemblies and had received the Presidential assent on 31 December 2014 and became effective from April 2015.
  • Composition: The NJAC was supposed to have 6 members, three from Judiciary comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) as its Chairperson and ex officio member and 2 other senior most judges of SC. While, other three members were Union Minister of Law and Justice (ex-officio) and 2 eminent persons.

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National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 comes into force

Union Government has brought into force the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 along with the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014.

In this regard, notification to effect from 13 April 2015 was issued by the Union Law Ministry.

With this new law the collegium system to appoint members to the higher judiciary has come to an end. Now President will appoint judges in the Supreme Court (SC) and 24 High Courts (HCs) in consultation with the NJAC.

Facts about NJAC Act, 2014

Composition of NJAC

  • As per Article 124A, NJAC is a 6 member constitutional body. Consisting of
  • Chairman- Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • Members- Two senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, the Union Minister of Law and Justice and two eminent persons.
  • Two eminent persons will be nominated by committee led by Prime Minister of India, the CJI, and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People.

As per 124B, functions of NJAC are

  • Recommend persons for appointment as CJI, Judges of SC, Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts.
  • Recommend transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges HCs from one HC to another HC.

About Collegium system

  • Previously, under the collegium system, five top judges of the Supreme court recommended transfer and elevation of judges to Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • It came into existence in 1993 after a Supreme Court judgement.

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