NJAC verdict: Mixed reactions from legal luminaries
New Delhi,Oct 16: There have been mixed reactions to the verdict of the Supreme Court which on Friday struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission.
While many in the judiciary have hailed the decision stating that the independence of the judiciary has been upheld others have termed it sad.
OneIndia spoke with several eminent advocates and former judges to get their reactions on the verdict of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court of India today struck down the government's decision to introduce the NJAC to appoint judges to the High Court and Supreme Court. It also held that the collegium system which has been there for the past two decades will stay on and continue to appoint judges to the higher judiciary.
What is a collegium?
A collegium comprises the five senior most judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court which appoints judges to the higher judiciary.
It came into force in the year 1990 following two judgments which held that the appointment of judges to the judiciary shall be recommended and done by the collegium which would be headed by the Chief Justice.
The role of the collegium would include appointing judges to the high court and also elevating judges to the Supreme Court.
Further the transfer of judges between high courts would also be decided by the collegium.
The collegium does not find a mention in the Constitution, but was created based on two orders of the Supreme Court that were passed in 1990.
Reactions to Supreme Court verdict on NJAC:
Sandananda Gowda, Union Law Minister: I am surprised by the verdict. NJAC had the support of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. We will now consult with legal experts and the Prime Minister on the next course of action.
Mahesh Jethmalani: There is a need for transparency in the judiciary and I do not think that the NJAC would have undermined the independence of the judiciary.
Let the appointment of judges come under the RTI.
Justice Santhosh Hegde, former judge of Supreme Court: I am happy with the verdict. The NJAC would have infringed upon the independence of the judiciary.
I would rather have more transparency in the collegium rather than having an NJAC with two persons unconnected with the judiciary.
Sanjay Hegde, senior advocate Supreme Court: I am relieved that this verdict has been passed. The independence of the judiciary cannot be negotiated.
I am happy that the Supreme Court has upheld the independence of the judiciary with this verdict.
Navkesh Batra, senior advocate: I am not in favour of this verdict. The collegium is an exclusive club of the judiciary.
There is never clarity on the appointment of judges. The NJAC would have ensured more clarity on this matter. I feel that the NJAC should have been in force as it would made the judiciary more transparent.