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SC begins hearing on maintainability of petitions against NJAC Act

SC begins hearing on maintainability of petitions against NJAC Act
The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) and Bar Association of India (BAI), represented by eminent jurists Fali Nariman and Anil Divan respectively, opposed the Constitutional Amendment Act & National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and sought that direction be passed to maintain status quo otherwise the entire process would become irreversible.

They have sought that the matter should be decided and could be referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench.

A bench comprising justices A R Dave, J Chelameswar and M B Lokur has made it clear that it was not going into the merits of the matter and was confining the hearing to consider whether challenge to the legislations was maintainable or not and whether an interim order to stay their operation can be passed or not and thirdly can it be referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench.

The stand of SCORA and BAI is different from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which has supported the central government saying the present legislation is a “brilliant mixture of executives, judiciary and the civil society” and the functioning of the present collegium system has always been shrouded in secrecy.

The SCORA and BAI along with some other advocates countered the submission of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the challenge to the laws was premature in the absence of notification of the acts by saying that the NJAC Act has come into force with the assent of the President.

“As far as the Parliamentary law is concerned, the legislative process is complete as set out in Articles 79, 107 and 111 read together. “The requirements of valid legislation are introduction and passage of bills in both Houses of Parliament (except money bills) and assent to the bills so passed by the President. The assent of the President completes the process of enactment of law,” senior advocate Anil Divan submitted.

“The bringing into force or coming into force of the law is a subsequent step. In the case of NJAC Act it has received presidential assent on December 31, 2014 but under provision it shall come into force on such date as the central government may, by notification in the official gazette, appoint,” he said.
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