National Judicial Appointments Commission Act notified

The government today notified the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 and the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, ringing in a change in the existing system of appointment of judges in Supreme Court and high courts.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had, on 13 and 14 August 2014, respectively, unanimously passed the two bills - The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty First Amendment) Bill, 2014 and The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014.

Subsequently these bills were ratified by the required number of state legislatures before getting the President's assent.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty First Amendment) Bill, 2014 enacted as the Constitution (Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 were published in the Gazette of India on 31 December 2014.

Both the Acts were to come into force on such date as the central government would notify them in the official Gazette.

The Acts provide for a transparent and broad-based process of selection of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts by the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The NJAC, to be chaired by the Chief Justice of India as in the earlier collegium system, will, however, have besides two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, the union minister of law and justice and two eminent persons to be nominated by a committee of the prime minister of India, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People, as other members.

To ensure inclusiveness, the Act provides that one of the eminent persons in the National Judicial Appointments Commission shall be nominated from amongst persons belonging to the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities or women.

The NJAC will frame its own regulations.