NJAC (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity)

News-CRUX-10     19th August 2023        

Context: The Supreme Court recently sought attorney general R Venkataramani’s assistance to adjudicate a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which sought fixing a time limit for the Centre to notify appointment of constitutional court judges recommended by the SC collegium.

About National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

  • NJAC is a group in charge of selecting and moving judges in the higher courts of India.
  • Established By: 99th constitutional amendment Act, of 2014.
  • Objective: The NJAC was meant to take the place of the collegium system used to choose judges.
  • Commission would have consisted of the following 6 persons Chief Justice of India (Chairperson), Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court, The Union Minister of Law and Justice, Two eminent persons: nominated by a committee & Leader of Opposition of LS.
  • In October 2015, the Supreme Court's Constitution Bench, with a majority of 4:1, ruled that the NJAC was against the Constitution and supported the continued use of the collegium system.

Collegium System

  • In this System, decisions about choosing judges or promoting lawyers to the Supreme Court and moving judges between High Courts and the Supreme Court are made by a group consisting of the Chief Justice of India and the four most experienced judges of the SC.
  • The way judges are chosen and moved around is based on decisions made by the SC, not on a law from Parliament or a part of the Constitution.
  • The term 'Collegium' isn't mentioned in the Indian Constitution. It has become a practice based on legal judgments.

Public Interest Litigation (PIL)

  • According to the Supreme Court PIL is a legal case initiated in a court to address matters that affect the broader public interest. 
  • It involves situations where the public or a specific group has an interest, even a financial one, that relates to their legal rights or responsibilities.
  • Public interest refers to the concern of a specific group of people that impacts their legal rights or responsibilities.
  • The idea of PIL started in the United States during the 1960s.
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