NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the Centre’s response on the contentions that certain provisions of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act of 2014 dealing with selection of High Court Judges violated the federal structure and were substantive than procedural in nature.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to address the issue and observed, “This will destroy the federal structure.”
The provisions relate to the appointment of a High Court Chief Justice and that the NJAC could forward to high court chief justice for his views the names for appointment of judges to that High Court.
The court asked the Solicitor General to address the issues after senior counsel Arvind Dattar appearing for the Madras High Court-based Service Bar Association assailed Section 6(1) and Section 6(3) of the NJAC Act coupled with their requirement of ‘ability, merit and any other criteria of suitability’.
Dattar said the NJAC Act was enacted for putting in place a procedure for the appointment of judges to the apex court and High Courts, including their Chief Justices.
But there were provisions under Section 6 and Section 12 which were substantive for laying down the qualifications of those who could be considered for appointment as judges. He said the worst part was that all these rules and regulations were subject to review or amendment by Parliament which, he said, offended the independence of judiciary, one of the basic structures of Constitution.