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The Collegium system of judicial appointments is here to stay. The Supreme Court today declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), and the Constitutional amendments involved, to be in violation of the Constitution of India.
Justice Khehar began the pronouncement by thanking all the counsels who appeared in the case.The judge noted that that there were three components in the judgment – recusal, reference to a larger Bench, and the decision itself.
Dismissing the claim for reference, the judge went on to say that the 99th Constitutional Amendment was struck down, and that the Collegium system as it existed prior to the enactment of the Constitution (Ninty-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 will be operative.
It was a majority decision (4:1) with Chelameswar J. delivering the sole dissenting opinion. The pronouncement itself lasted for about 10 minutes in an overcrowded court room number 4.
The Court also said that it would like to improve the collegium system, and hearings on the same would begin on November 3 this year.
The common order of the court, signed by all the five judges reads, as follows:
The NJAC hearings involved a slew of petitioners, with the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association being the lead petitioner. The central government was represented by three law officers – Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and ASG PS Narasimha.
Most of the senior members for the Bar had argued in the case – a majority of them led by Fali S Nariman seeking the quashing of the Commission.
(Full text of the judgment below)