Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said today that the two-decade old Collegium system for appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts will continue until the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is in place. Gowda said after the two bills relating to the creation of NJAC and giving it a constitutional status were signed into Acts by the President on December 31, the process of setting up the new body "has been initiated." The Acts will come into force after they are notified by the Centre in the gazette. "Till such time the Acts are brought into force, the existing system of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the (24) High Courts is being continued," he said.
A committee comprising the Prime Minister, the CJI and leader of largest opposition party in Lok Sabha has to nominate two eminent persons to the Commission. The NJAC will be headed by the CJI. Two senior judges of the apex court, the Law Minister and two eminent persons will be its members while Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry will be the convener of the high-powered panel. The NJAC seeks to give the Executive a say in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
A bunch of petitions seeking to declare the Constitution’s 99th Amendment Act, 2014, providing Constitutional status to the NJAC, as "invalid, void and unconstitutional," are pending in the apex court. The constitution of NJAC is considered as a very prominent step towards the regularization of judiciary.