Law Minister calls for reintroduction of NJAC Bill
Delhi – Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju addressed Lok Sabha on Wednesday noting that the voice in favor of reintroduction of the NJAC (National Judicial Appointments Commission) Bill is growing strong.
Rijiju said during a debate in the House on High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, “There has been huge support regarding NJAC, so I want to tell the House on record that many retired judges and Supreme Court Bar Association have given me in writing that the present Collegium system of appointment of judges is not correct; not transparent, and not accountable. It does not even justify the slightest intent with which this provision was made in the Constitution.” The bill was passed in the House with a voice vote.
The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had introduced the NJAC Act in 2014. The aim of the act was to regulate the procedure of recommending names for appointments of posts such as Chief Justice of India, judges of Supreme Court, Chief Justices and judges of High Courts and also their transfers. But in October 2015, Supreme Court struck off the NJAC on unconstitutional grounds.
“A voice has been coming from across the country to reintroduce the NJAC Bill,” Law and Justice Minister Rijiju said, adding the voice has been raised through media, different NGOs, and a large number of jurists. “As I have said before that this is a very sensitive issue, so, I am not saying it as a commitment. But it is my duty to inform this House that such voices are coming, including voices from the judiciary,” the minister said.
On Wednesday, RSP member N K Premachandran said to minister about considering bringing back of the NJAC Bill. Earlier, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey too had raised the request to government.
Rijiju however, noted that despite the Bill the appointments of judges is going on in a smooth fashion. “Right now, I can definitely say that the appointment process is going on smoothly. From the government side, there is no effort to scuttle or to create any kind of slow down in the process of appointments,” he said. “Some of the allegations are also not correct to say that the government is stopping some of the names recommended by the Collegium. We all have to understand that government cannot just remain a mute spectator or we cannot just sign on any of the names. We have to do due diligence….”