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The NJAC Arguments Resume

Published on Mon, Jun 08,2015 | 21:53, Updated at Mon, Jun 08 at 21:53Source : 

By: Ashmit Kumar, CNBC TV18

Today, the apex court’s specially constituted 5-judge bench convened in the middle of court vacations to resume hearing over the fate of judicial appointments in the country.

Despite the apex court premises bearing a forlorn look (courtesy the summer break), Court Room No. 3 was, in stark contrast, the scene of heated exchanges between various legal titans.

First off the block was the Attorney General – Mukul Rohatgi. The AG set the stage for what appeared to be an aggressive line of arguments. He opened the day while asserting before the Justice Khehar led bench, that the Parliament’s power to legislate was an unqualified and absolute right, though conceding that it was subject to the basic structure of the constitution. Supplementing his stance, he reasoned that the parliament was best equipped to assess and the needs of the people and the changing times. In a bold move, he also claimed that the “wisdom” of the parliament could not be “subject to judicial review”.

Training his guns at the bench, the AG also expressed concern at viewing the NJAC, independently of the collegium system. Calling into question the Collegium Regime, the AG sought the urgent reconsideration of the “The Second Judges’ Case” and “The Third Judges’ Case”.

The two judgments are credited with ushering in the collgeium-based system for appointment of judges. Rohatgi argued that the Collegium system lacked constitutional backing and the NJAC has, effectively, removed the basis of the two judgments. He also noted that the parliament was equipped with the powers to do so.

As a final salvo for the day, Mukul Rohatgi contended that primacy of the judiciary in the matter of appointments was not a “basic feature” of the constitution and that it was unrelated to the question of judicial independence. He further built on the argument, submitting that even assuming against himself on the question of primacy, no scenario before the NJAC would allow an appointment unless two of the three judicial members concur.

The hearing will continue tomorrow with the AG expected to submit Part-2 of the submissions.


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