Centre’s plea to refer NJAC matter to a 9 Judge bench is declined by SC

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Centre’s plea to Supreme Court where it requested the court to refer the NJAC case to a 9 judge bench was declined by the apex court which came as a shock to the Centre. Justice J S Khehar who was one among the 5 judge bench told that they will hear the matter based on its merits and allow the argument by the parties regarding the validity of the amendment to the constitution and NJAC and the court said that arguments on this matter should be put before 5 bench judge itself. Bench extended High Court additional judges term till May/June or until their superannuation and the bench made this interim planning till the case was decided completely by the bench itself as the NJAC was not put in place yet. Further court did not restrain the government to move ahead with its NJAC’s operation.

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It was the argument of the Government earlier that the case should be heard by bench consisting of more judges than just two judges which the five bench judges did not agree to this.  Bench, which comprised of Justices Kurian Joseph, J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, and Adarsh Kumar Goel told that if this matter should be referred to another larger bench of 9 judges then it should be heard from the starting by them. Senior advocates Ram Jethmalani, and Fali S Nariman told that the centre wants to delay this matter so it is asking to refer the NJAC matter to a larger bench. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Nariman had a heated exchange of words and Nariman asked the court to put a stay on NJAC’s operation. The bench consoled him by stating that nothing has yet happened to NJAC as the issue of renowned members are not yet considered by the panel. Centre also confirmed to the bench that additional judges would not be made to suffer in anyway. Rohatgi said court can record his statements or consider the centre’s view and pass an order. Centre had earlier said that collegium system was dead and completely buried off and so it could not be revitalised even though the bench suppressed the NJAC.

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by Sushma Javare.