Possible End of Collegium System Era, National Judicial Appointments Commission Act Notified

The Government today notified the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 and the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 for bringing in a change in the existing system for appointment of Judges in Supreme Court and High Courts.

Two Bills titled 'The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty First Amendment) Bill, 2014' and 'The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014' were passed unanimously by the Lok Sabha on 13.08.2014 and Rajya Sabha on 14.08.2014 respectively. Subsequently these Bills were ratified by the required number of State legislatures before getting the President’s assent. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty First Amendment) Bill, 2014 enacted as the Constitution (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 were published in Gazette of India on 31st December 2014.

Both the Acts were to come into force on such date as the Central Government would notify them in the Official Gazette.

Accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, the Central Government appoints the 13th day of April, 2015, as the date on which the said Act shall come into force.

Further, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 (40 of 2014), the Central Government appoints the 13th day of April, 2015, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force.

The objective of the The Constitution (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 is to amend the Constitution of India in order to include provisions for the recommendation of the National Judicial Appointment Commission in the appointment of the Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the SC and Chief Justices and other Judges of HC.

The Act, Interalia, provides for:
  • Insertion of Article 124 A, 124 B and 124 C which states that:
124A. (1) There shall be a Commission to be known as the National Judicial Appointments Commission consisting of the following, namely:––
  • the Chief Justice of India, Chairperson, ex officio
  • two other senior Judges of the SC next to the Chief Justice of India- Member, ex officio
  • the Union Minister in charge of Law and Justice––Member, ex officio
  • two eminent persons to be nominated by the committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in the House of the People –– Members
Provided that one of the eminent person shall be nominated from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities or Women.
Provided further that an eminent person shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for renomination.
(2) No act or proceedings of the National Judicial Appointments Commission shall be questioned or be invalidated merely on the ground of the existence of any vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Commission.
124B. It shall be the duty of the National Judicial Appointments Commission to—
  • recommend persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India, Judges of the SC, Chief Justices of HC and other Judges of HC
  • recommend transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of HC’s from one HC to any other HC; and
  • ensure that the person recommended is of ability and integrity.
124C. Parliament may, by law, regulate the procedure for the appointment of Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the SC and Chief Justices and other Judges of HC and empower the Commission to lay down by regulations, the procedure for the discharge of its functions, the manner of selection of persons for appointment and such other matters as may be considered necessary by it
  • Amendment in the following provisions: Article 124, 127, 128, 217, 222, 224 in order to include provision for the recommendation of the National Judicial Appointment Commission in the appointment of the Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the SC and Chief Justices and other Judges of HC, and transfer of the Judges of the HC’s from one HC to any other HC.
  • Omission of the following provisions: Article 124 (first proviso), 231 (2)(a) etc.
National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 is an Act to regulate the procedure to be followed by the National Judicial Appointments Commission for recommending persons for appointment as the Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts and for their transfers and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

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