SC to resume hearing on pleas against NJAC

SansadTV Bureau

supreme_courtThe Supreme Court will resume hearing arguments from Monday on the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act, notwithstanding the on-going summer vacation.

The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, on May 12, had rejected the Centre’s plea that the petitions against the NJAC be referred to either nine or 11 judges bench.

It had also rejected Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s suggestion that the matter be heard next month after the summer vacation.

“This country or court may not have a matter of this importance. This is the enactment of the law by Parliament which has a majoritarian rule. This is a serious matter,” the bench, also comprising justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, had said.

The bench, which decided to go into the merits of the issue from tomorrow, however, had clarified that the issue relating to challenge to the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 can be referred to a larger bench at the later stage, if required.

Further, the court had directed that as an interim measure, additional high court judges, whose present stint is due to end in near future, will continue in office for three months.

The bench had made it clear that it needed to hear the matter at the earliest as a detailed judgement has to be delivered for which time would be needed and the vacation helps the judges in penning the verdicts.

The court is hearing a batch of petitions including the plea filed by the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) against the NJAC.

Senior advocate F S Nariman, appearing for SCAORA, had sought a stay on the operation of NJAC on the ground that in any case, the new system is not functioning as the Chief Justice of India has not been participating in it.