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What they said: SC refuses NJAC petitions but leaves door ajar

The Supreme Court bench of justices Anil Dave, Chelameshwar and AK Sikri has declined to entertain the five writ petitions against the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) bill.

What they said

Fali Nariman eloquently argued why it is not a premature matter. He said he is all for the NJAC but not in its present format. Earlier, in 2003, the JAC had an odd number of members (five) which was better than the NJAC’s system of six members. If only two oppose an appointment, it doesn’t go through. In the present NJAC there are three Supreme Court judges so if any of the other two reject a candidature, then there is no primacy of judges’ opinion.

Ex-additional solicitor general and petitioner Bishwajit Bhattacharya argued that the matter was already covered by a 1978 reference, where, according to him, even a bill can be challenged and constitutional amendments can be challenged despite the entire process not having completed.

Petitioner ML Sharma raised several eyebrows by talking about parliamentary procedure and arguing, how can there be a commission under article 124A when such an article does not exist.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi confidently argued for the government saying that the writs were premature.

Justice Sikri was very vocal, Justice Dave a little annoyed by the Mumbai lawyer’s behaviour, and Justice Chelameshwar was attentive on giving inputs.

NewsX legal journalist Sumit Nagpal (@spread_law) tweeted:

#SupremeCourt dismissed petitions challenging JAC bill saying its premature

Fali S Nariman was at his best during the arguments challenging JAC bill. But the bench said petitions are premature & they can't interfere

Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi contended that JAC bill can not be challenged at this stage. Anything can be done if it becomes a law.

Court witnessed unruly behaviour by a lawyer from Bombay who wanted to argue on JAC law. Bench got angry and reminded him manners

Headlines Today journalist Jaskirat Singh Bawa (@jaskiratsb) added that the court did not shut the door on future challenges.

Indian Express’ legal correspondent Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) tweeted: “Govt clarifies there's no hiatus on judges' appointments & collegium system will work till new law is notified.”

Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay argued this morning on Legally India that the NJAC legal challenges must fail because the bill was not yet a law and interfering in the legislative process was outside of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.

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