Supreme Court holds legislative debate on NJAC Is SC competent to improve collegium?

 A Division Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice S. Jagdish Singh Khehar today allowed most of the senior advocates to initiate a debate on the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. Several senior lawyers dealt with subjects like transparency, criteria/eligibility, conduct/ role of the collegium etc. It appears from over one hour discussion in the Supreme Court that the bench and the bar i.e. the judges as well as lawyers were trying to swim in the frozen waters. There was more confusion than the light as the discussion remained inclusive.
          Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate and Executive Chairman of the State Legal Aid Committee who is one of the petitioners in a NJAC case before the Supreme Court said that the Supreme Court cannot enter the arena meant for the Parliament. The Supreme Court has given its judgment in over 1000 pages which shall go down in the history of the court as a unique judgment to uphold the independence of judiciary. No doubt the Supreme Court has invited suggestions from the lawyers and others for updating the collegium system which was held valid by nine judges bench of the Supreme Court. Certainly collegium system needs improvement, additions, substractions and introduction of transparency in the selection of the judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. There must have been hundreds of suggestions and each suggestion needs careful review. The important discussion in the court today focused on transparency in the system for selecting the judges, the criteria/eligibility of the candidates to be the next judges and the  constitution of the collegium system.
          Prof.Bhim Singh said that the exercise undertaken by the Supreme Court deserves attention of the Parliament of India as well as the legal fraternity whether the initiative taken by the Supreme Court falls within the competence of the judiciary? In his judgment, Prof.Bhim Singh feels that the Supreme Court after deciding a matter and delivering its judgment should leave the space open for the consideration of the Parliament. He said it is Parliament alone which is competent to consider whether there should be a secretariat for the collegium or there is requirement of permanent members of the secretariat? Who shall be these members and functionaries? What is the criteria/eligibility of a person to be considered for the post of a judge in a High Court or in the Supreme Court? All these issues need to be debated in the Parliament and settled by the Parliament. It is Parliament alone which is competent to legislate in respect of terms and conditions of the collegium and the powers to be vested in it. 
          Prof.Bhim Singh expressed surprise on the silence of the Ministry of Law to take up these issues actively, effectively and with farsightedness in the interest of the independence of the judiciary which is essential for preserving democracy and rule of law.

Bhim Singh urged SC to ‘save this temple of justice’ from NJAC as wisdom lies in daring

Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate and petitioner-in-person while arguing his petition before the Constitution Bench this afternoon argued vehemently to quash National Judicial Appointments Commission Act as well as 99th Constitutional Amendment in the Indian Constitution to save independence of judiciary in the interest of democracy and rule of law.

He told the 5-judge Constitutional Bench headed by Mr. Justice Mr. Justie Jagdish Singh Khehar and comprising JJ Mr. Justice J. Chelameswar, Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph & Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that the independence of judiciary has been threatened by a draconian Act called NJAC in the process of appointment of judges to the High Court and to the Supreme Court. In his brief arguments Prof.Bhim Singh submitted,

“That I, myself was protected and has survived by the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India when this (Supreme Court) even find Rs.50,000 to ask the Govt. of J&K to pay compensation against his illegal arrest and wrongful confinement. The State (the power that be) would like to scuttle the independence of the judiciary which is evidence that the latest NJAC has been empowered to veto the decision of the three-sitting judges of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice of India by a veto of two ordinary members. He further said that the appointment of two eminent persons is a fraud on Constitution as one of the members has to be from the reserved category which is unknown in the history of judicial appointments. He said that the veto power vested in two members can defeat the entire process of appointing Judges to the higher judiciary including that of Chief Justice of India, Chief Justices of the High Courts as well as Judges of the Apex Court and the High Courts. This is totally unnatural, undemocratic and unacceptable in democracy. He submitted the day people shall loose faith in the judiciary, the democracy will be under a threat and there is a serious threat to the integrity, unity and sovereignty of the nation.

Prof. Bhim Singh appreciated the bold and positive decision of the Chief Justice of India to opt out of the selection committee of the three persons floated by the Government to select two eminent persons. He said this is a mockery that eminent persons have not been defined and they could be Amitabh Bachchan or Ambani or Adani or even Lata Mangeskar as they are among the foremost eminent persons. Shall these eminent persons nominate the next Chief Justice of India, the judges of the Apex Court and the Chief Justice of the High Court. This is an attempt, he submitted, to demolish the independence of judiciary in the country to please the corporate houses as well as money and muscle power.

He urged the Constitution Bench to act boldly and fairly as wisdom lies in daring, to save this (judiciary) from the assault of draconian commission NJAC.   

Bhim Singh urged Supreme Court to act with wisdom & daring in NJAC case

Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate and petitioner-in-person while arguing his petition before the Constitution Bench this afternoon argued vehemently to quash National Judicial Appointments Commission Act as well as 99th Constitutional Amendment in the Indian Constitution to save independence of judiciary in the interest of democracy and rule of law.

He told the 5-judge Constitutional Bench headed by Mr. Justice Mr. Justie Jagdish Singh Khehar and comprising JJ Mr. Justice J. Chelameswar, Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph & Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that the independence of judiciary has been threatened by a draconian Act called NJAC in the process of appointment of judges to the High Court and to the Supreme Court. In his brief arguments Prof.Bhim Singh submitted,

“That I, myself was protected and has survived by the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India when this (Supreme Court) even find Rs.50,000 to ask the Govt. of J&K to pay compensation against his illegal arrest and wrongful confinement. The State (the power that be) would like to scuttle the independence of the judiciary which is evidence that the latest NJAC has been empowered to veto the decision of the three-sitting judges of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice of India by a veto of two ordinary members. He further said that the appointment of two eminent persons is a fraud on Constitution as one of the members has to be from the reserved category which is unknown in the history of judicial appointments. He said that the veto power vested in two members can defeat the entire process of appointing Judges to the higher judiciary including that of Chief Justice of India, Chief Justices of the High Courts as well as Judges of the Apex Court and the High Courts. This is totally unnatural, undemocratic and unacceptable in democracy. He submitted the day people shall loose faith in the judiciary, the democracy will be under a threat and there is a serious threat to the integrity, unity and sovereignty of the nation.

Prof. Bhim Singh appreciated the bold and positive decision of the Chief Justice of India to opt out of the selection committee of the three persons floated by the Government to select two eminent persons. He said this is a mockery that eminent persons have not been defined and they could be Amitabh Bachchan or Ambani or Adani or even Lata Mangeskar as they are among the foremost eminent persons. Shall these eminent persons nominate the next Chief Justice of India, the judges of the Apex Court and the Chief Justice of the High Court. This is an attempt, he submitted, to demolish the independence of judiciary in the country to please the corporate houses as well as money and muscle power. The hearing continues. 

NPP activists welcome Governor Rule in J&K Demand cancellation of polls, fresh election

A massive demonstration was held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi by hundreds of Panthers Party activists this afternoon under the leadership of Prof.Bhim Singh to welcome the promulgation of Governor Rule in J&K which was the only alternative to save democracy, rule of law and dignity of the citizens from the anarchy and political mess in the state.

Map of India showing location of Jammu and Kashmir

Map of India showing location of Jammu and Kashmir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prof.Bhim Singh in his petition to Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India had urged for the imposition of Governor of Rule without delay to save 12 million citizens in J&K from further chaos, anarchy and lawlessness caused due to non-governance and unavailability of administration. He had urged the Governor for his immediate intervention to impose Governor Rule by accepting the recommendations of Shri N.N. Vohra, the Governor of J&K as there is no possibility to form a new government keeping in view the present vertical division of the legislators elected in the recently held polls. He accused the NC and the BJP to cause a political pollution by manipulating EVMs and rigging the polls. He also accused both the Central government led by BJP and the State government led by NC for holding election in violation of Supreme Court judgment dated 08.10.2013 directing the Election Commission of India to use ‘paper trail’ in the EVMs so that each voter shall know the consequence of the status of his/her vote so used.

Prof.Bhim Singh welcomed the imposition of Governor Rule imposed under section 92 of J&K Constitution as the Constitution of India nor its provisions are applicable in the state of J&K. Prof.Bhim Singh also demanded cancellation of the recently held Assembly election so that fresh elections in accordance with Supreme Court order may be held in the interest of democracy and rule of law.