Congress hails SC decision on NJAC

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision on the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 (NJAC), the Congress on Friday said the verdict should not be viewed as any tussle between the judiciary and parliament.

“Quashing of NJAC should not be viewed as a confrontation between judiciary and parliament. Instead of looking backward, we must look forward to address the issue in hand,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement issued here.

“Under no circumstances should elements within or outside the government venture into an atmosphere of confrontation between parliament and judiciary.”

He said the order also implicitly reflects lack of confidence in the government which has eroded institutional autonomy and constitutional safeguards ever since it took office.

“Indian National Congress respects the judgment of the constitution bench of the Supreme Court on NJAC issue. Independence of judiciary is a key fundamental of our democracy. There can be no compromise on the same,” he said.

“Important question is not who will appoint judges but important question is as to how will the judges be appointed,” he said in the statement, adding that it was also true that the existing collegium system was shrouded in secrecy and over-confidentiality.

Discretion to appoint judges must be based on objective and not subjective criteria. Transparency, accountability and responsibility of collegium system is a must and has been under question, the Congress spokesperson said.

Moreover, there is no institutional mechanism to check and address complaints of corruption and nepotism in higher judiciary, Surjewala said.

The Congress leader also expressed happiness over the Supreme Court recognising the shortcomings in the present judges’ appointment system and trying to remove these.

“We are happy to note that constitution bench of the Supreme Court has itself recognised these shortcomings and has directed to hear arguments on the issue of ensuring transparency, accountability and responsibility of collegium system in the first week of November,” he added.

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