Case Commentary on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Judgment
Volume III, Issue III, 2020
In 2014, the NJAC was held responsible for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary in India whereas the collegium system which was prevalent from at least two decades was declared null and void. The whole discussion revolved around the independence of the judiciary and shifting of power from the executive to the judiciary. Although theoretically, the process of appointment seems just and fair, one can’t neglect the fact that nepotism still subsists in the process. Collegium system suffered from opaqueness and lack of transparency. Further, in 2015 the NJAC got struck down as it seemed to affect the independence of judiciary. Instead of focusing on the independence of judiciary, a judiciary must be independent of the practice of favoritism and vested interests. In the present commentary on NJAC, both the collegium system and NJAC have been critically examined. Further, the emphasis is given on appointment procedure in other jurisdictions along with relevant precedents. Indians to keep the procedure transparent can also take motivation from the processes of other countries. The authors are of the view that the formation of NJAC doesn’t cure the ailments suffered by the collegium system. Neither collegium system serves the purpose. There is a need for efficient judiciary instead of an independent judiciary. The apex court should have looked into the NJAC process thoroughly and only the unconstitutional provisions are removed by applying the doctrine of eclipse instead of reviving the whole collegium system. Also, the expression of citizens should be taken into consideration to make the procedure more transparent and to retain the people’s faith in the system.
Keywords: Collegium System, Independence of Judiciary, Nepotism, NJAC