Current Affairs


Parliamentary panel says SC showing a ‘zeal for primacy’

  • As the Supreme Court and the Centre differ over the delay in appointment of judges in the High Courts, lawmakers have for the first time tabled a Parliamentary Standing Committee report accusing the Supreme Court of distorting the original constitutional mandate and showing an “unnecessary zeal” for primacy in judicial appointments.
  • The report concludes that the judiciary’s zeal for primacy over government had led to the “present unfortunate situation”. Nearly 43 per cent of the approved strength of judges in High Courts is vacant.
  • The draft Memorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments has been in limbo for almost a year.
  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievance, Law and Justice has directly contradicted SC’s judgment on NJAC law, which upheld the concept of judicial primacy.
  • The committee recommends that original constitutional position on judicial appointments be brought back. Appointment of HC judges is “essentially” an executive function and a shared responsibility of government and judiciary.
  • The distortion in original mandate of Constitution arising from judgments of the apex court in the Second Judges Case and subsequent cases needs to be reversed and the original constitutional position needs to be respected in letter and in spirit, for which the government may take appropriate measures.
  • The committee had taken suo motu cognisance of the “sad state of affairs” caused by the “inordinate delay in filling the vacancies in SC and HCs”.
  • Report may act as a trigger for kick-starting legislative efforts to overcome impact of Supreme Court’s October 16, 2015 judgment scrapping the NJAC law.
  • The committee said the Constitution’s makers believed that only an equal involvement of multiple constitutional authorities in judicial appointments would mould an independent judiciary.
  • It refers to how the Supreme Court itself, in the NJAC judgment, had concluded that the Collegium system lacked transparency.