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NJAC Challenge: Collegium Cannot Be Revived

Published on Mon, Jun 15,2015 | 23:18, Updated at Mon, Jun 15 at 23:18Source : 

By: Ashmit Kumar, CNBC TV18

Can India afford to experiment with the Judicial Appointments Commission? The question occupied centre-stage with another day of sabre-rattling between the government and the apex court.

In an earlier hearing, senior counsel Harish Salve had opined that the hearing over NJAC should be adjourned sine die. The idea was that with the hearing kept in abeyance, would allow a window for the NJAC to be operationalised and be tested. The government, represented by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, echoed a similar view holding that the court would be at liberty to revive the hearing if it felt that functioning of the commission was violative of the constitution.

The idea prompted a heated debate. The five judge bench countered that the Chief Justice of India had already submitted that he would refrain from the participating in the Commission for as long as the matter was being adjudicated. Such a stance of the CJI, the bench argued, would render the NJAC in-operational.

Another issue that prompted heated exchanges was the fate of the Collegium, if the NJAC was to be struck down. The Supreme Court, in earlier hearings, had hinted that striking down the NJAC could effect the revival of the erstwhile Collegium.

The Government opposed the idea furiously. It argued that Collegium had been relegated to the annals of history with newer provisions being introduced and ratified by the legislature. The Government submitted that striking down of the new provisions could not automatically translate into revival of the erstwhile setup. Striking down the newer provisions will only lead to a vacuum, the Solicitor General submitted, that the parliament will act swiftly to fill.


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