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Hearing on NJAC Challenge started in SC; The whole thing looks unworkable observes SC

Aishwarya Dhakarey
11 March 2015 1:36 AM GMT
Hearing on NJAC Challenge started in SC;  The whole thing looks unworkable observes SC
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The Advocate-on-Record Association, NGO Change India and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), senior counsel and former additional Solicitor General of India Bishwajit Bhattacharyya, senior counsel Bhim Singh and R.K. Kapoor and advocate Manohar Lal Sharma have challenged the validity of the Constitution (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, that provides for setting up the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) and for enabling statute the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 in a batch of petitions. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi representing the Union submitted before the apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Madan B. Lokur that "I am rigorously contesting the application for stay (on constitutional amendment and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2014). Is it that government does not have powers to notify the will of the people.” Rohatgi said that amendment was passed unanimously by 367 members of Lok Sabha representing the will of the people and then there is a double reassurance of it after the constitution amendment was ratified by 20 state assemblies.

Senior counsel Fali Nariman appearing for the petitioner Advocate-on-Record Association affirmed that, "Parliament has no power, authority or jurisdiction to pass NJAC Act, 2014 in the teeth of unamended Article 124(3) and Article 273(1) of the constitution" Seeking to refute the respondents’ arguments, he stated that merely because President Mukherjee gave his assent to both Constitution (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, and the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 does not give retrospective validity to NJAC Act, 2014.

On the other hand, Bhim Singh appearing in person said that NJAC would led to "judicial anarchy" in the country by permitting any two members of NJAC to veto any appointment including the appointment of CJI (Chief Justice of India. Appearing for the Bar Council of India, senior counsel Anil Divan told the court that the provisions of the NJAC Act "completely" reduces the judicial overtone. "It will not only be over-ridden but drowned."

Referring to S.5 of the NJAC, Justice Chelameshwar said "The whole thing looks like an unworkable situation,"

The arguments will resume on Wednesday.

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