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National Judicial Appointments Commission rollout may take months

Framing of rules for its functioning have not yet been finalised
National Judicial Appointments Commission rollout may take months
National Judicial Appointments Commission rollout may take months

Though the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and referred a batch of petitions challenging it to a larger Bench, it may still be several months before the Commission is even active.

Though President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the NJAC along with an enabling Bill providing for the panel on December 31 last year, the framing of rules and procedures under which the Commission will operate has not yet been finalised.

There are also a host of logistical and procedural issues still to be addressed. For one, the government will have to appoint two eminent persons to serve on the six-member Commission along with the Chief Justice of India, the two seniormost judges of the Supreme Court and the Law Minister. These two persons will have to be appointed by a panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha. Till date, this panel is yet to hold an official meeting to consider names.

Besides this, the government is yet to allocate an office to the NJAC or appoint a secretariat to serve it. The NJAC will likely require several officials at various levels who will have to compile the background information on the various persons that the Commission will consider for appointment as judges.

There are three vacancies in the Supreme Court and 358 vacancies for judges in the 24 High Courts, according to numbers put out by the Law Ministry Law Minister Sadananda Gowda had earlier indicated that the collegium system would continue until the NJAC was put in place. In February, the Collegium recommended the name of Amitava Roy, Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court; who was then appointed to the Supreme Court.Hindu

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