No Plan To Reintroduce NJAC, Government Says In Rajya Sabha


There is no proposal to reintroduce the National Judicial Appointments Commission with any modifications, Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju said, in a written response to queries raised on the issue of vacancies in courts in the Rajya Sabha.

The NJAC, a proposed body that would have been responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary, was enacted by the Parliament in 2014. It was declared unconstitutional by a 4:1 majority of the Supreme Court in 2015.

In his opening speech on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha Chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar criticised the judiciary for scrapping the NJAC Bill.

He referred to it as an instance of “severe compromise of parliamentary sovereignty” and said the government’s three organs should respect the “Laxman Rekha”.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had made similar comments in May this year.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Abhay Oka and Vikram Nath on Thursday made sharp observations against the government on the issue of elevation of judges proposed by the Collegium.

Sending back recommendations reiterated by the Collegium is in breach of its judicial directions, the bench said, according to a report by Bar and Bench.

Rijiju also informed the upper house that as of Dec. 5, there’s one proposal for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge and eight proposals for the appointment of high court judges, both recommended by the apex court, that are pending with the government.

Appointment of the judges of the constitutional court is a continuous, integrated, and collaborative process between the executive and the judiciary, Rijiju said in his reply.

The response also shed light on some of the pending decisions on transfers recommended by the apex court.

Eleven proposals for the transfer of high court judges, one proposal for the transfer of a Chief Justice, and one proposal for the appointment of a Chief Justice of a high court are under the government’s consideration.

In terms of pending decisions on the proposals by high court collegiums, the number stands at 146, the reply said.

Finally, Rijiju also shared the vacancy numbers with the Rajya Sabha—against the sanctioned strength of 34 judges, 27 are working in the Supreme Court, leaving seven vacancies. In the high courts, against the sanctioned strength of 1,108, 778 judges are working, leaving 330 vacancies.


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