The Supreme Court today refused to accord urgent listing of a plea seeking review of its 2015 verdict striking down the NJAC Act and the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014, leading to the revival of the collegium system of appointment of judges. The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar. The bench observed that there was no urgency for listing the plea for re-consideration of the verdict delivered by a five-judge Constitution bench.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act 2014 would have accorded a major role to the executive in appointing judges to the higher judiciary. The apex court had on October 16, 2015 struck down the ambitious NJAC Act, 2014 to replace the 22-year-old collegium system of judges appointing judges. While four out of the five judges of the constitution bench had held as unconstitutional and void both the NJAC Act and the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act 2014, Justice J Chelameswar had upheld the validity of the constitution amendment law.
“The system of appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court and Chief Justices and Judges to the High Courts, and transfer of Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts from one High Court to another, as existing prior to the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014 (called the “collegium system”), is declared to be operative,” the apex court had said. The NJAC was perceived by some in the legal fraternity as an attempt to interfere with the independence of judiciary.