The Supreme Court will on October 16 pronounce its judgement on the constitutional validity of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), a body created to end the two-decade-old Supreme Court Collegium system of judges appointing judges to the highest courts in the land.
A five-judge Bench - J.S. Khehar, J. Chelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A.K. Goel - had reserved its judgement on July 15 after a marathon hearing for 31 days on the issue of validity of the 99th Constitutional amendment and the NJAC Act.
The petitions challenging the new legislation were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others contending that the new law encroached on judicial independence.
The judgment would decide the fate of the powerful Supreme Court Collegium and its so-far undisputed authority to appoint judges to the higher judiciary as it did for the past two decades.
The parliament had unanimously voted in favour of the NJAC law and the Constitutional Amendment. The latter was then ratified by 20 State Assemblies and had received the Presidential assent.
One of the contentious provisions of the new law was the inclusion of two eminent persons to the NJAC which included Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the apex court and the Union Law Minister.
Under the law, two eminent persons will be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such LoP, the leader of single largest Opposition Party in the House.
Further, it envisages that of the two eminent persons, one would be from the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBCs, minority communities or a woman.