The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014

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The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014, is set to pass the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill.  This bill was introduced by Minister of law and Justice Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lok Sabha on 11 August 2014.  Main object of the bill is a need for a broad based National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to make recommendations for selection of judges it also want to enable equal participation of judiciary and executive.

This bill is enacted to amend the Constitution of India by the Parliament in its 66th year of Republic of India and it can be called as Constitution (121st Amendment) Act 2014. Central Government by Official Gazetted notification will bring into force on such date as appointed.

Collegium system is a system under which judges are transferred and appointedand that are decided by forum of Chief Justice of India and 4 senior judges of Supreme Court. Under Article 124(2) judges of Supreme Court are appointed and High Court judges are appointed under Clause (1) of Article 217 and ad-hoc judges and retired judges of Supreme Court are appointed under 127, and 128 clause (1) of the Constitution. Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association vs. Union of India on 6/10/1993 and in its advisory opinion in 1998 in Third Judges case interpreted Article 124 (1) and Article 217 of the constitution respectively.

Article 124 of the Constitution has been amended as in clause (2) which states about the recommendation of National Judicial Appointments Commission is substituted where first provision is omitted and has inserted new Article 124A, 124B an 124C.

Article 124 of our constitution deals with appointment of Supreme Court Judges which should be made by President with consulting judges of High Court and Supreme Court and Chief Justice of India to be consulted for all appointments.Appointment of High Court judges are dealt by Article 217 by President after consultation with CJI and Governor of state.

Article 124A states that a Commission known as National Judicial Appointments Commission is formed consisting of Chief Justice of India, 2 Senior Judges of Supreme Court, Union Minister in charge of Law and Justice, 2 persons nominated by committee of PM, CJI and Opposition leader and 1 person is nominated among SC, ST and OBC, Minorities or Women and such eminent person to be nominated for a period of 3 years cannot be re-nominated again. Actions of NJAC cannot be questioned on the ground of existence of error in the constitution of the Commission.

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Article 124B states the duty of NJAC to recommend persons for appointment as CJI, Supreme Court Judges, CJ of High Court and other High Court Judges, to transfer of Chief Justices, to ensure that such person is able to perform duty.

Article 124C states about the parliament’s power to make laws with regard to the appointments of these judges and manner of selection of persons for appointment. Article 127 and 128 is amended where Chief Justice of India is substitute by National Judicial Appointments Commission.

Under Article 217 where amendment has happened with regard to addition of on recommendation of NJAC with reference to Article 124A. Article 222 of Constitutions is also amended where after consultation with CJI is removed.

In Article 224 changes are made to words “President after consulting NJAC will appoint”has been added in Clause (1) and (2) of this Article. Article 224A also has been amended where some words have been amended where National Judicial Appointments Commission on reference to CJ of High Court for any state may with previous consent of President is added. Article 231 clause (2) sub-clause (a) has been omitted.

NJAC was formed after review and pronouncements of the Supreme Court and consultations with eminent Jurists.  This commission will provide a great role in judiciary, executive and eminent person which help in bringing transparency in the process. The said Bill provides for a composition and functions of proposed NJAC and it further provides that parliament will regulate the procedure of appointment of Judges.

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by Sushma Javare.