ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Cure for the Malaise

A law passed in haste will replace the flawed judicial collegium with yet another flawed system.

Parliament’s approval of the Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill, 2014 raises more questions than answers about the process of appointments to the higher judiciary.

The combined effect of the two bills is to establish a NJAC which will be responsible for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts as well as transfer of judges between high courts. The establishment of the NJAC marks the end of the judicial collegium, a committee comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and senior Supreme Court judges. The collegium, hitherto responsible for appointments and transfers, was widely felt to have lost its legitimacy as a credible and impartial appointment authority, given the absolute secrecy that characterised its functioning. However the reform bills pay scant attention to detail, make illusory references to transparency and were passed in undue haste by Parliament without any meaningful scrutiny or notable debates.

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