Conflicts on Judicial appointments

Conflicts on Judicial appointments

Conflicts on Judicial appointments

#GS-02 Indian Judiciary

For Prelims

National Judicial Appointments Commission:

  • NJAC was a constitutional body proposed to replace the present Collegium system of appointing judges.
  • It was to be responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India.
  • National Judicial Appointments Commission was created by the Ninety-Ninth Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014.

Composition of NJAC

  • The Chief Justice of India
  • 2 senior-most judges of the Supreme Court
  • The Law Minister of India
  • 2 eminent members that are chosen by the Selection Committee


For Mains

The Cause of Conflict:

  • The current conflict has two triggers.
  • One is the government’s repeated public criticism of the Collegium system on the ground that it is “opaque”.
  • The court has accused the government of not appointing persons who are not “palatable” to it.
  • Another major concern of the government is the court’s decision to declare NJAC as unconstitutional in the Fourth Judges Case.

What can be done:

  • The government can bring a new law on judicial appointments while taking the concerns of the court into account.
  • The parliamentary standing committee on Law and Personnel in its report said both the judiciary and the government need to do some “out-of-the-box” thinking to deal with the “perennial” judicial vacancies in High Courts.

Vacancies in higher Judiciary:

  • As on November 30, 2022, there are 332 judicial vacancies in the High Courts out of a total sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges.
  • The High Courts have made 146 (44%) recommendations which are under consideration of the government and the Supreme Court.
  • The High Courts are required to make recommendations for the remaining 186 vacancies (56%).
  • Many High Courts have not made recommendations under the Bar and Service quotas for vacancies in the past one to five years.
  • It said 43 High Court judges are scheduled to retire between December 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023, taking the vacancies up to 229.
  • So far, no recommendations have been received.
  • The delay in the appointment process has affected the timely filling up of vacancies in the High Courts. The Supreme Court itself has six vacancies.

Source “Why is there friction between the government and the judiciary?