Is NJAC a violation of Article 368 or violates the theory of pith and substance? To understand we must go back to the root of the matter. Brief History This issue is neither constitutional nor legal. The issue is to decide the procedure for appointment of Judges in High Courts namely the High Court and Supreme Court. As such the debate on the procedure to appoint judges to higher courts was debated forcefully by several leading giant members of the Constituent Assembly. But no consensus was drawn. The details we shall see here are below. But before that somewhere in the year 1991 by order and Judgement of the Supreme Court, a system was designed by the name Collegium. In Collegium 6-8 Judges would consider candidates for the office of the higher court judges which includes the Chief Justice of State and Supreme Court Collegium members. Who selects the candidates and forwards the names to the Law Ministry for scanning intelligence background. There is no other role of the Government in the selection process. The President in the course gives his assent and notifies. Is this a correct system that was dreamt by the makers of our Constitution? Or is hit by pith and substance? Link to read Judgement : https://indiankanoon.org/doc/753224/ Current scenario and the allegations: Over a period of time, this system was allegedly affected by nepotism and it is alleged that it has created a monopoly. There were news reports as well as reports of a senior lawyer at the bar that 50% of the Judges are relatives of the ex-Judges. In the meantime, the Government enacted a law called National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 ( NJAC ) which was abrogated and declared ultra-vires by the Supreme Court. This resulted in the continuity of the Collegium System. In its logical and practical argument that the Judiciary, it’s argued that the participation of politicians in the selection process may vitiate the independence of the judiciary. This danger was also visualized by the late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. For the said reason though amendments were moved to adopt the American method of appointment of judges to the higher courts same were withdrawn by respective Constituent Assembly members. However, the late Dr. Ambedkar could not have thought of the situation persisting today about the collegium system which has allegedly resulted in the monopoly of a few families. Here is the link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/govt-gives-collegium-proof-of-nepotism-in-picks-for-hc-judges/articleshow/65220425.cms https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/50-hc-judges-related-to-senior-judicial-members-report/story-S8RP2Ir9cEuIN4NewFnvML.html With this background let us see the history of this issue and why it did not reach finality during the finalization of the Constitution of India. The Government of India Act, 1919 provided in Section 101 for the Constitution of High Courts; and the appointment of the Chief Justice and the permanent Judges were in the absolute discretion of the Crown, subject only to the prescribed conditions of eligibility. The tenure of their office, according to Section 102, was dependent entirely on the Crown’s pleasure. Under the Government of India, Act, 1935, appointments of Judges of the Federal Court and the High Courts were at the absolute discretion of the Crown or, in other words, […]Read more
Nowadays Collegium is a topic of debate. It’s a system where the Committee of Justices of Higher Courts sanctions and recommends an appointment of an Advocate/Justice of the High Court to a higher bench or apex bench of the Judiciary. Which is under criticism. At present Collegium is a system that makes the appointment and recommends names to the President and Government of India. However, as a matter of academic interest let us see the background of this issue. To draft the Constitution, a Constituent Assembly was constituted. In the said assembly the topic or article on the appointment of Judges to the higher judiciary amendments was discussed at length. Copy each of Part-1 and Part -2 of the Collegium discussion given below in the link. The following are the relevant resolutions. Proceedings before Constituent Assembly Mr. President: The question is: “That for clause (2) of article 103 the following be substituted:- ‘Every Judges of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years: Provided that in the case of appointment of a Judge, other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India shall always be consulted.’” The amendment was negatived. “That in clause (4) of article 103, for the words ‘supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting has been presented to the president by both Houses of Parliament ‘ the words ‘by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President’ be substituted.” The amendment was adopted. Provision of Constitution: An evolution: Provision of Constitution : Establishment and constitution of Supreme Court.—(1) There shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India and, until Parliament by law prescribes a larger number, of not more than [seven] other Judges. (2) Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal [on the recommendation of the National Judicial Appointments Commission referred to in article 124A]2 and shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years: 3.[* * * * *] 4 [Provided that]— (a) a Judge may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office; (b) a Judge may be removed from his office in the manner provided in clause (4). 5 [(2A) The age of a Judge of the Supreme Court shall be determined by such authority and in such manner as Parliament may by law provide.] (3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court, unless he is a citizen of India and— (a) has been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession; or (b) has been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts […]Read more
What will be fate of West Bengal Chief Minister after Six months? Can a candidate who has lost election be a Chief Minister after period of six months? What does constitution provide?
In normal circumstances we have seen Manmohan Singh did not contest a single general election, but he was appointed as Prime Minister and he was elected in Upper House of Parliament within six months to continue in office. Similarly in Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray Chief Minister Maharashtra did not contest election but was nominated in Upper House of Assembly. These are cases where candidate had not contested election. But in case of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee who recently took Oath as Chief Minister, contested election and lost it. This makes case peculiar. Now for that we need to know the provisions of the Indian Constitution. Article 164 in The Constitution of India 1949 Other provisions as to Ministers (1) The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor: Provided that in the State of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there shall be a Minister in charge of tribal welfare who may in addition be in charge of the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and backward classes or any other work (2) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State (3) Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer so him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule (4) A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister (5) The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as the Legislature of the State may from time to time by law determine and, until the Legislature of the State so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule The Advocate General for the State Article 173 in The Constitution of India 1949 Qualification for membership of the State Legislature A person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislature of a State unless he (a) is a citizen of India, and makes and subscribes before some person authorised in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule; (b) is, in the case of a seat in the Legislative Assembly, not less than twenty five years of age and in the case of a seat in the Legislative Council, not less than thirty years of age; and (c) possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament Article 191 in The Constitution of India 1949 Disqualifications for membership (1) A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State (a) if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State specified in the First […]Read more