NJAC hearing: Tell us when we pushed wrong name, Supreme Court to government

The bench today maintained that the government was a participant in the entire process, and the names of the judges were cleared only after their backgrounds and credentials were verified by the home ministry.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2015 5:55 am
njac, supreme court, supreme court NJAC, judicial excess, judiciary, Ministry of Law, appointments of judges, NJAC controversy, narendra modi, judicial appointment, nda, NDA government, supreme court NJAC, bjp government, modi government, National Judicial Appointments Commission, india news, indian express The government has projected the new National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) as a mechanism that is needed because the collegium system is not transparent and there is no criteria available in public domain justifying the appointments of judges.

Asserting that the collegium system had “limited but sufficient transparency”, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to list how many persons with “doubtful integrity” have been appointed as judges in the apex court and high courts by the collegium.

Read: Judges’ job to decide cases, not appoint brethren: Govt to SC

“You cannot say the collegium doesn’t have transparency at all. We don’t advertise vacancies but that does not mean the system is not transparent. It has limited but sufficient transparency,” said a Constitution Bench, headed by Justice J S Khehar.

Read: 11 judges should decide, Govt tells SC

“It (collegium) is not a closed door system, but to throw it open to all and sundry would invite a lot of representations. It still cannot be said that it is not transparent,” said the Bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Jospeph and Adarsh K Goel. “Just because there have been mistakes here and there does not mean the system is inconsistent or bad,” it added.

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The government has projected the new National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) as a mechanism that is needed because the collegium system is not transparent and there is no criteria available in public domain justifying the appointments of judges.

The bench today maintained that the government was a participant in the entire process, and the names of the judges were cleared only after their backgrounds and credentials were verified by the home ministry.

Also Read: Government won’t appoint judges till Supreme Court resolves NJAC issue

“Has there been a singular name where it was pushed by the collegium but the person turned out to be of doubtful integrity? Is there a single case where the government said the integrity of the person is not good, yet he was appointed? We don’t know. Why don’t you give us the names if it ever happened,” the bench told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who, in his arguments, has been critical about the alleged opaqueness of the collegium system.

As Rohatgi sought time to furnish the details, the bench asked: “How many names were recommended by a high court collegium but the Supreme Court returned them on the ground of doubtful integrity… How many names were referred by the Supreme Court collegium but the government returned them on the ground of doubtful integrity… How many names were sent back by the Supreme Court collegium after the government returned them on the ground of doubtful integrity?”

The bench asked Rohatgi to give details of all such instances.

The arguments in the case will resume Friday.

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  1. Ajit Kumar
    May 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm
    First let us make our parliament free from members with criminal records through electoral reform. Then only people will have trust in their functioning. It is visible that as more and more political leaders are facing difficulty due to higher judiciary, all political parties were together to p the bill without any delay.
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      Anurag Srivastava
      May 1, 2015 at 11:01 am
      If we tell you pushed wrong name, then it will amount to contempt of court. Why can't it be realized that the NJC has been consituted based on the recommendations of the 2nd Administration Reforms Commission, approval of the Committee of Secretaries, approval of the Group of Ministers & of the Cabinet and thereafter receiving the ent of the Parliament. The Parliament is supreme in this country. If the junta elects the legislatures, the PSCs/CSCs the executive then why can't a high powered Committee, in which judiciary is also involved, appoint judges. If the judges reduces pendency of cases in the courts by burning mid night oil and not taking vacations like school students, this situation would have not arisen.
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      1. Ashish Biswas
        May 1, 2015 at 2:33 pm
        Judges are also public servants. There appointments should be transparent. It is not going to jeopardise democracy or the security of this country.
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        1. Ashish Tripathi
          May 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm
          When Judges select Judges, the selectors focus on IQ/academic/professional ability. This selection process tends to become narrow minded, as the selectors do not focus on personality and emotional quotient skills such as social awareness, humanitarian efforts, cultural awareness, language expression ability, etc. The lay "eminent" persons from higher positions in insutions such as Tata Insute of Social Sciences, Health Organizations, Social Organizations, Literature Societies, etc. are better suited to make such an essment that is apposite to IQ/judicial ability. These qualities are necessary and essential in a Judge and cannot be adequately essed by Judge selectors alone..,.,
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            shankerbhat
            May 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm
            whether case is argued in court or before AG's opponents? why bench is belligerent? let provisions be examined instead of digging past.
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