In a jolt to the Central government, the Supreme Court on Friday struck down the Constitution's 99th Amendment (which allowed for the NJAC Act) as unconstitutional and void, restoring the collegium system for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
In a "collective order", the constitution bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that the constitution's 99th amendment and the NJAC Act are unconstitutional and void.
The Constitution amendment and National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act were brought to replace the 1993 collegium system for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts.
The court said the system of "appointment of judges to the SC, chief justices and judges of the high courts and the transfer of chief justices and judges of the high courts that existed prior to the amendment begins to be operative".
Here are the reactions to the judgement:
Sadanand Gowda (Union Law Minister): The will of the people can be represented through the parliament. We got the will of the people as 100 percent of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members supported it. I am not going to make any statement as far as this judgement is concerned because I have not gone through the judgement. We have to go through it in detail.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Union Minister, BJP): After courts’ verdicts it has once again proved Cong is “history-sheeter party” for blocking nation’s progress by false and fabricated issues.
RS Surjewala (Congress): Congress respects judgement of the Supreme Court of India. Independence of judiciary is a key factor in our democracy and there can never be a compromise with that.
Ashutosh (AAP): SC judgment is great blow to Central Govt trying to make judiciary committed to itself.This govt made CJI as governor. That was brazen. Independence of judiciary is under severe threat under present political dispensation.In that light SC judgment on NJAC should be welcomed. But SC should create internal filters and reform collegium system to make it more credible.
Prashant Bhushan (Swaraj Abhiyan): Kudos to the SC for protecting judicial independence by striking down the NJAC through which the politicos wanted to control appointments of judges. Need a full time, indep, transparently functioning authority like UPSC for judicial appointments.The collegium system has many problems too.
Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP): Will go through judgement and come with a structured response. But it is indeed very important to recall the circumstances in which the constitutional amendment came to be passed. We respect the judiciary. We don't see it at all in the context of any confrontation with the judicial legislature.
Jayaprakash Narayan (Loksatta Party): SC decision quashing #NJAC is patently unconstitutional. Now SC wants 'Mulla Raj' in India. No organ can appoint itself in a democracy. Parliament must now be convened immediately for an emergency session to debate this issue threadbare & protect the constitutional scheme. Parties must bury petty political squabbles & rise as one to restore primacy of democracy.Court scored a self-goal lowering its prestige. It is sad that SC deliberately set stage for confrontation between Parliament and judiciary.Parliament must not shirk its responsibility. Judiciary is not private property of incumbent judges, just as Parliament & government are not anybody's property. SC is wrong.
AG Mukul Rohatgi: It was decided that the Collegium system will be brought back, to make that system better. The Court said that there should be transparency in the appointment. Now Parliament and Government will decide what to do.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM): I opposed the NJAC in Lok Sabha, good that Apex court struck it off.
The court sought suggestions from the bar for improved functioning of the collegium system. Hearing for the same will take place on 3 November.
With inputs from agencies.
Updated Date: Oct 16, 2015 13:42 PM