Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to the appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)

The Supreme Court’s judgement on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, has significant implications for the appointment of judges in India’s higher judiciary. The following points critically examine the judgement:

  • Background: The NJAC Act aimed to replace the existing collegium system, which involves judges appointing other judges, with a more transparent and accountable process. The NJAC would comprise the Chief Justice of India, two senior-most Supreme Court judges, the Union Law Minister, and two eminent persons.
  • Unconstitutionality: The Supreme Court struck down the NJAC Act as unconstitutional, stating that it violated the independence of the judiciary. The judgement emphasized the need for judicial appointments to be free from executive influence.
  • Separation of powers: The judgement highlighted the importance of maintaining the separation of powers between the judiciary, executive, and legislature. The NJAC Act was seen as an attempt by the executive to encroach upon the judiciary’s domain.
  • Lack of transparency: Critics argue that the collegium system lacks transparency and accountability, leading to nepotism and favoritism in judicial appointments. The NJAC Act sought to address these concerns, but the Supreme Court’s judgement upheld the collegium system.
  • Reforms: Following the judgement, the Supreme Court acknowledged the need for reforms in the collegium system and invited suggestions from various stakeholders. However, significant changes are yet to be implemented.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s judgement on the NJAC Act, 2014, upheld the independence of the judiciary but also highlighted the need for reforms in the appointment process of judges in India’s higher judiciary.

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