National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)
- NJAC is a body responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India.
- NJAC was a constitutional body proposed to replace the present Collegium system of appointing judges.
- The NJAC was established by amending the Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014.
It consist of six people:
- Chief Justice of India
- Two most senior judges of the Supreme Court
- Law Minister
- Two ‘eminent persons’. These eminent persons are to be nominated for a three-year term by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and are not eligible for re-nomination.
Functions of the NJAC
According to a new article 124B, the functions of the NJAC will be as follows:
- Recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India, judges of Supreme Court of India, Chief Justices of high courts and other judges of the high courts.
- Recommending transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court
- Ensuring that the recommended persons have ability and integrity.
99th Constitutional Amendment Act:
- The 99th amendment of the Constitution inserted a new Article 124A, which provides for composition of the NJAC.
- The act mandates the NJAC to recommend the name of senior most judge of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India.
- In no country of the world do serving judges exclusively select and appoint judges.
Fourth Judges’ Case (2015):
- Supreme Court rejected the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment in the Fourth judges’ case (2015).
- Consequently, the earlier collegium system became operative again.
- The court has held that the appointment of judges, coupled with primacy of judiciary and the CJI, was part of the basic structure of the Constitution and that the parliament, through NJAC act, violated this basic structure.