SC strikes down NJAC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for the appointment of judges and dubbed it as unconstitutional.

The apex court also upheld the collegium system for the appointment of judges.

“Amendment has been declared unconstitutional. Old collegium system has been restored,” said advocate Surat Singh.

A five-judge bench headed by Justice J.S. Khehar had reserved its judgement on July 15 after a marathon hearing for 31 days on the issue of validity of the 99th Constitutional amendment and the NJAC Act.

On April 7, a three-judge bench of the apex court had referred the matter to a five-judge constitution bench, the batch of petitions challenging the validity of NJAC Act to replace the two-decade-old collegium system.

Under the old collegium system, five top judges of the apex court used to recommend the transfer and elevation of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts.

The NJAC was signed into an Act by President Pranab Mukherjee on December 31, 2014.

According to the new act, two eminent persons will be nominated to the NJAC as members by the committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

The eminent persons will be nominated for a period of three years and will not be eligible for re-nomination.

The NJAC will be headed by the Chief Justice of India.