SC to pronounce verdict on challenge to NJAC on Tuesday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the constitutional amendment and enabling law replacing the collegium system for appointments to higher judiciary by the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC).

The court will pronounce its verdict both on the maintainability of the challenge to Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, that provides for setting up the NJAC and to the enabling statute to the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 and whether the matter be referred to a larger constitution bench to determine if appointment of judges by NJAC violates the independence of judiciary.

The judgment in the matter that was heard by the bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Madan B. Lokur will be pronounced by Justice Dave. The court March 24 had reserved its verdict on the batch of the petitions challenging the validity of the constitutional amendment and the enabling statute.

The petitioners challenging the NJAC had contended that NJAC Act, 2014 could not have been passed in August 2014 as there was no supporting provision in the constitution, which came into effect only after December 31 assent to the constitutional amendment by President Pranab Mukherjee.

On the other hand the maintainability of these petitions was challenged by the government, saying that they were premature and academic as the statutory provision to bring in NJAC has not been notified. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had told the court that the challenge was premature as both of them are yet to be notified and operationalised.

While the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association, NGO Change India, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), Bar Association of India and others had moved the court challenging the NJAC route of appointment, the Supreme Court Bar Association had come out in the favour of the new proposed system.

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