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SC declines urgent hearing of plea for quashing of NJAC Act

SUPREME_COURT

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today declined urgent hearing of a plea seeking quashing of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act which ends the two-decade-old collegium system of judges themselves selecting and appointing judges for higher judiciary.

“There is no urgency. This will come in the usual course,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said, when senior advocate Bhim Singh mentioned the matter and sought an urgent hearing.

The petition filed in the Supreme Court yesterday challenging the legality and constitutional validity of the NJAC Act, 2014 and the Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014, came barely a week after President Pranab Mukherjee accorded assent to them.

The plea filed by Singh, who is also the chief of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, termed them as illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.

It contended that the new system will result in excessive dominance of the executive in appointment of judges to the superior judiciary and recommendation of the Chief Justice of India would be reduced to mere suggestion.

The plea said the new process is likely to jeopardise the appointment of judges in higher courts resulting in further delay in rendering justice to the common people.

The senior advocate challenged the legality and constitutional validity of the NJAC Act saying that it is violative of Articles 14 and 21 and other provisions of the Constitution and the foundation for the principle of judicial independence.

The petition said that on December 31, 2014, President of India has given his assent to two bills including, the NJAC Bill, 2014 and the constitution (121  Amendment) Bill, 2014 and “the aforesaid two Acts have caused excessive dominance of the executive in the mater of appointment of judges to the superior judiciary as well as in the formation of its structural composition discarding the opinion of Chief Justice of India.”

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