Arguments against NJAC close in SC
The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) will endanger the independence of the judiciary by making the Chief Justice of India accountable to the Union Law Minister, PIL petitioners against the judicial panel contended in the Supreme Court today.
This will affect the basic arrangement of the Constitution under which judiciary’s independence was a crucial element, the petitioners argued while concluding their contentions before a 5-member Constitution Bench headed by Justice JS Khehar.
The Bench said it would hear arguments next week in favour of NJAC by the Centre, states and others. The other leaders of the Bench are Justices MB Lokur, J Chelameswar, Kurian Joseph and AK Goel.
Among those who argued today were senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan. Guidance for the petitioners noted that according to the objects and reasons of the NJAC Bill the six-member delegation, including the CJI and the Law Minister, the judicial board was aimed at securing the responsibility, clarity and objectivity in the assignment of judges to the SC and high courts.
“Is the CJI answerable to the Law Minister or the two eminent persons who would also be on the 6-member panel,” they wanted to know.
The Bench also accepted that the wordings of the NJAC Act and the connected 99th Constitution Amendment Act were rather confusing, particularly the expression that the Commission would play a meaningful role to the judiciary.