President clears Justice Amitava Roy as SC judge

Showcasing it as an instance that there is no friction between the government and the judiciary in appointment of judges, the government has moved fast to receive the President’s approval for the elevation of Chief Justice of Orissa Amitava Roy as a Supreme Court judge.

“We had moved fast as Justice Roy was due to retire on February 28. The Prime Minister’s approval was got and the file sent to the President two days ago," Union Law Minister V. Sadananda Gowda told  The Hindu on Thursday.

Mr. Gowda said the notification of Justice Roy's appointment will be issued as soon as the papers reach the Ministry from the President's office. 

He said the judicial appointments through Collegium system will continue for the time being. The apex court has two more vacancies and there are several vacancies to fill up in the various High Courts.

“I reiterate, until the National Judicial Appointments Commission comes in place, the Collegium system will continue. We cannot let judicial vacancies lie open,” Mr. Gowda said.

He, however, said that “as of now Justice Roy’s recommendation was the only recommendation to reach the government for elevation to the Supreme Court”.

With the appointment of 62-year-old Justice Roy, the strength of judges in the Supreme Court climbs to 29 of a sanctioned 31. 

Earlier this month, speaking to this paper, Mr. Gowda had cleared the air over media reports that there is a tug-of-war between the government and the highest judiciary, and judicial appointments to the top courts of the country “will be put on hold” until the petitions pending in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 are decided.

Mr. Gowda said it is “common sense to understand that judicial appointments cannot be put on hold and the co-operation of the Chief Justice of India, who is the chairman of the NJAC, is much needed”.

Meanwhile, a bunch of petitions, including one by Supreme Advocates-on-Record Association seeking to declare the Constitution 99 Amendment Act, 2014, providing Constitutional status to the National Judicial Appointments Commission as “invalid, void and unconstitutional”, is yet to be listed in the apex court.

The NJAC restores the political class's role in appointments of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Both the Constitution Amendment Bill and the NJAC Bill were passed by the parliament in August 2014.

The petitions contend that NJAC “altered the basic structure of the Constitution” and encroached on judicial independence.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 12:15:10 AM |

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