Eventually Parliament has passed National Judicial appointment commission bill to appoint judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, after scrapping the collegium system of appointment. National judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) is the culmination of a 24 year-long intense debate.
There is a debate going on between lawyers, those who were in the support of collegium system used to say that NJAC will undermine the judicial primacy in appointment of judges, but if we will go through the bill we will find out that there is equal participation of judiciary and executives in NJAC.
Where judiciary has the choice for selection and recommendation of the name then the constitution conferred appointment powers on the executive according to law minister, “In NJAC, the judiciary still enjoys primacy in selection of judges. The CJI is the head of the NJAC and he, along with two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, hold half the votes in the commission”.
The CJI is also part of the high-powered committee, along with the prime minister and the leader of opposition that selects two eminent jurists for the six-member NJAC. He also heads the process for formulation of regulations to guide the detailed functioning of NJAC The NJAC Bill also provides that if two of the six members oppose a name, then it would not be recommended for appointment as judge to the President even if the other four, including the CJI, are in its favour, which is quiet similar to the collegium system in which if two members opposed a name for appointment as a judge, the CJI would not recommend the mane to the President.
Although there will be years to come before we know how NJAC will work. But to the limited extent it has put an end to the opaque collegium system, which is certainly a good step taken by government of India.
AMIT KUMAR RANA