Apex Court turns down Centre’s plea to refer NJAC issue
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to accept the Centre’s preliminary plea that petitions challenging the new law on <g data-gr-id="19">appointment</g> of judges in higher judiciary be referred to a larger bench of nine or eleven judges. The five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Justice JS Khehar, said that it will hear the arguments on merit and also clarified that if required then the matter can be referred to a larger bench.
The bench, comprising Justices J <g data-gr-id="12">Chelameswar</g>, MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel in addition to Justice Khehar, directed that as an interim measure, additional High Court judges, whose present stint is due to end in near future, will continue in office for three months. It also said that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and others can advance arguments on merits.
Earlier during the day, senior advocate FS Nariman, appearing for Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association, sought a stay on the operation of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) on the ground that in any case, the new system was not functioning as the Chief Justice of India has not been participating in it. The apex court had on Monday made it clear that it would first decide on the issue of referring the challenge to NJAC to a larger bench and then go into the merits of <g data-gr-id="27">case</g>.