Home / Politics / Policy /  Collegium system must go, Centre tells Supreme Court

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday launched a strong defence of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) in the Supreme Court, saying “the existing collegium system must go."

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Centre also urged the apex court to allow the law to work, see how it works, and only then decide whether there was a problem with the law.

Rohatgi told a bench of justices Anil R. Dave, J. Chelameswar and Madan B. Lokur that the Supreme Court had no power to decide the constitutionality of a law which has not been notified by the government.

Once a bill is passed by both houses of Parliament, in some cases also ratified by half of the state legislatures, and attains the assent of the President, it becomes an Act. A notification then has to be issued specifying the date from which the Act comes into force.

In this case, though the NJAC Act, 2014 attained the President’s approval in December, 2014, it is yet to be notified. As a result, the government argued, challenges to the NJAC were premature as the law itself was not “in force".

The Supreme Court Bar Association has also intervened in the case and supported the government’s stand.

The apex court is hearing a number of challenges to the constitutional validity of the 121st Constitution Amendment Act and the NJAC Act, 2014 filed by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, the Bar Association of India, non-profit Centre for Public Interest Litigation, among others. The petitioners have said that the proposed system violates the basic structure of the constitution and compromises the independence of the judiciary by giving the executive a greater role in the appointment of judges.

The hearing continues on 19 March.

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