A five judge bench of the Supreme Court of India today struck down the NJAC while upholding the collegium system to appoint judges to the higher judiciary.
A batch of petitions had been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the NJAC. After hearing the matter at length the Supreme Court had reserved orders on the matter on July 15.
The petitioners had argued that the NJAC is un-constitutional and interferes with the independence of the judiciary. The government however said that it is a myth that only judges can appoint judges.
With the implementation of the NJAC, the government sought to introduce two persons outside the judiciary to decide on who would become judges.
The panel would comprise the Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, the union law minister and two eminent persons.
When the government introduced the system, Chief Justice of India, H L Dattu had written to the Prime Minister he would not be part of the NJAC until the Supreme Court decided on the validity of the commission.
Reacting to the verdict, former Judge of the Supreme Court said that it is a good decision. It appeared to be an attempt by the government to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
Thankfully the Supreme Court had upheld the collegium system. However I would want to add that the secrecy factor adopted by the collegium while appointing judges must be eradicated.
The verdict by the five judges was unanimous in nature. The court observed that the NJAC would hurt the independence of the judiciary.