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Judicial appointments are too vital for a hit-and-trial method, says SC

A five-judge Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar chided the government, even as the latter urged that the hit-and-trial method was part of democratic form of governance, the Constitution and federalism.

A five-judge Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar chided the government, even as the latter urged that the hit-and-trial method was part of democratic form of governance, the Constitution and federalism.  

Objecting to the Centre’s argument that the National Judicial Appointments Commission should be given a chance under the ‘hit-and-trial’ method, the Supreme Court said the appointment of judges to the highest courts cannot be left to vagaries of chance or at the mercy of divine powers.

A five-judge Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar chided the government, even as the latter urged that the hit-and-trial method was part of democratic form of governance, the Constitution and federalism.

“The only problem is that we can’t leave it to God; otherwise downslide would be so tremendous that we would not be able to get it back. It can’t be hit-and-trial method,” Justice Khehar responded.

“You have to be reasonably sure; otherwise it would be disastrous. If you are so sure about the new system, say that it is damn good model, it is the great system. Don’t use phrase like hit-and-trial,” the Bench observed.

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi then submitted that Parliament could have used the opportunity to revert to the “original” form of judicial appointments when the highest judiciary was relegated to the position of a consultant for the government in recommending judges for appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

‘Broad-based system’

Instead, Mr. Rohatgi said Parliament opted for a broad-based system of judicial appointments to keep in tab with the changing times.

“The NJAC is a wholesome mechanism in which the voice of the people plays a part in the judicial appointments. NJAC exudes public confidence,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

The Bench asked Mr. Rohatgi to hand over a list of bad appointments of judges made by the Supreme Court Collegium during the last two decades. Mr. Rohatgi, however, responded that there were very few cases since 1993 — five out of around 100 where the government objected to the names recommended by the collegium.

The hearing will resume on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 2:58:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/judicial-appointments-are-too-vital-for-a-hitandtrial-method-says-sc/article7299307.ece

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