Home National SC order striking down NJAC was greatly flawed: Justice Shah

SC order striking down NJAC was greatly flawed: Justice Shah


Justice AP Shah, former chairman of the Law Commission and ex-chief justice of Delhi High Court, has said that the Supreme Court judgment which struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) was greatly flawed and deserving of harsh criticism.

He said, the idea of the NJAC was a “very good one” and while there were some deficiencies, they could have been read down.

Justice Shah was speaking at a discussion on ‘appointment of judges, balancing transparency, accountability and independence of the judiciary’ in New Delhi yesterday.

He said, it is disturbing that the apex court was comfortable that judicial independence would be safe in the collegium system.

Justice Shah said, the constitution bench did not offer any real alternative while striking down the NJAC.

Justice Shah said the collegium system lacked transparency. He questioned the third judges’ case of 1998 which became the basis for the collegium system assuming primacy in appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

He said, the judgment in the third judges’ case lacked any detailed textual or normative reasoning, and read more like a policy brief.

Justice Shah said, there is no safeguard against arbitrariness, no mechanism to gather data, and no criteria for selection. The system was ad hoc and shrouded in secrecy, he said.

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