The President Pranab Mukherjee on 31 December 2014 signed National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014. With this, National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 has come into effect.
The Bill also called the 121st Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014 will set up National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) replacing collegiums system to appoint judges of higher judiciary.
The NJAC Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in August 2014. Till December 2014; it was ratified by the Legislatures of 16 States, thus crossing the 50 percent ratification needed by the States in case of a Constitutional Amendment Bills as per Article 368 of the Constitution.
Main Features of the NJAC Act, 2014
• It gives NJAC a Constitutional status for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
• It also gives the executive an equal role in the appointment of judges to the highest judiciary, as a constitutional body.
• It specifies amendments to Articles 124 (2) and 217 (1) that deals with the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and the High Courts, respectively.
• Now the judges in the Supreme Court and the High Courts will be appointed by the President in consultation with the NJAC.
• Once the NJAC is in place then Union government has to intimate NJAC within 30 day about the vacancies in the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Vacancies to come up within the next six months should also be intimated to the commission in advance.
Composition of NJAC
The NJAC has the Chief Justice of India as Chairperson and two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court as members, apart from the Union Law Minister and two eminent personalities, one of whom would be nominated from among the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, minorities, the Other Backward Classes or women.
What: Singed by the President
When: 31 December 2014