Supreme Court Declines the Plea for Urgent Hearing on Quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking quashing of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 which ends the two-decade-old Collegium system of judges themselves selecting and appointing judges for higher judiciary.
The petition filed by senior advocate Bhim Singh challenging the legality and constitutional validity of the NJAC Act, 2014 and the constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014. Today the Supreme Court declined the request for urgent hearing of the plea seeking quashing of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act.
The petition was filed barely a week after President Pranab Mukherjee accorded his consent to them. The plea filed by Singh, who is also the chief of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, termed the act as illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.
The petition claimed that the new system will cause excessive dominance of the executive in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary posts and the recommendation of the chief justice of India would become a mere suggestion. The plea also contended that the new process will jeopardize the appointment of judges in higher courts causing further delay in rendering justice to the common people of the society who are already suffering from a delay in the process of providing justice.
“There is no urgency. This will come in the usual course,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said, when senior advocate Bhim Singh mentioned the matter and sought an urgent hearing.
Singh challenged the legality and constitutional validity of the NJAC act, citing that it is violation of articles 14 and 21 and other provisions in the constitution and the foundation of the principle of judicial independence.
According to the petition filed by the senior advocate, the President of India has given his assent to two bills, including, the NJAC Bill, 2014 and the constitution (121 Amendment) Bill, 2014 on December 31st, 2014 and “the aforesaid two Acts have caused excessive dominance of the executive in the matter of appointment of judges to the superior judiciary as well as in the formation of its structural composition discarding the opinion of Chief Justice of India.”
The petition also said that “… in all the matters thereof totally derogating the crucial independence and integrity of the judiciary, which is incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, contrary with the oath and affirmation made and subscribed bearing “Allegiance to the Constitution of India”.