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Does NJAC conform to basic structure of Constitution: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The new law on appointment of judges should not be seen as "good or bad" and rather tested on the proposition that whether it conforms to the basic structure of the Constitution or

PTI [ Updated: July 10, 2015 20:59 IST ]
does njac conform to basic structure of constitution
does njac conform to basic structure of constitution supreme court

New Delhi: The new law on appointment of judges should not be seen as "good or bad" and rather tested on the proposition that whether it conforms to the basic structure of the Constitution or not, the Supreme Court today said.

"Don't put the new law to good or bad. If it meets the parameters of the basic structure, work it out," a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar observed during arguments on the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC).

The observation came when senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan Dhawan opposed Centre's submission that NJAC had an element of "hit and trial" and it will have to be seen how the new system works.

 
"The 99th amendment is a thoughtless piece. Constitutional amendments are not made for trial. It is too serious an issue and cannot be left to hit and trial. It
cannot be put on experimental basis. We cannot experiment with the Constitution," Dhawan said opposing the NJAC Act.

Contending that the independence of judiciary is inextricably linked with the appointment process, he said the independence of judiciary cannot be maintained when the power to appoint judges rests with the executive.

"Why are we eager that there must be a reform. Everything is not vulnerable to change. What is the compulsion for the change. I agree, at the maximum, there might be a body to look into the performance of the judges. But, not beyond this.

"The collegium system was working perfectly. Appointment of judges is not a thing to be played in the hands of the Parliament. What is the basis of making this change," Dhawan told the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel.

On this, the bench remarked,"it was pointed out no Member of Parliament understands what NJAC is all about. The fact that NJAC was passed unanimously by both Houses of Parliament shows they all were in agreement. We cannot interfere in this. They are elected representatives".

During the proceedings, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi also countered the submission that MPs were not aware about the new law and said it was a "dangerous" proposition to say that MPs don't understand NJAC.

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