New Delhi [India]: On the first day of the Special Session of Parliament, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday again referred to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill, which was passed by both the Houses and later struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Dhankhar, during the discussion on ‘Parliamentary journey of 75 years, starting from Samvidhan Sabha-Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings’, said that the bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha unanimously and by the Rajya Sabha with only one abstention had the backing of 16 state assemblies.
The Rajya Sabha Chairman was speaking after Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek K Tankha mentioned in his speech that, in the 75 years of glorious history, the Supreme Court has upheld all the Constitutional amendments, except one- NJAC. ‘Which was struck down fully,’ Tankha said.
Interrupting the Congress MP, Dhankhar said, ‘Let me reveal my mind. You are a member of this House, everyone here, passed that bill only with one abstention. Lok Sabha passed it unanimously. What is happened to that. Did this august house, ever concerned itself with what they have done…It is prime obligation of everyone in this House that if this House has sanctified and by that majority…(with) 16 state assemblies endorsing it…I await what Kapil Sibal would say.’
This was not the first time, the Rajya Sabha Chairman spoke on the 99th Constitutional Amendment Bill, paving way for the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), which was undone by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Earlier in December last year too, Dhankhar, after presiding over the Rajya Sabha for the first time as chairperson, took exception to the apex court’s verdict.
‘… Constitutional Amendment Bill paving way for the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC). There was unprecedented support for the above. On August 13, 2014, the Lok Sabha unanimously voted in its favour the Parliament in a much needed historic step passed the 99th with there being no abstention. This House too, passed it unanimously on August 14, 2014 with one abstention. Rarely in Parliamentary democracy, there has been such massive support to a Constitutional legislation,’ Dhankhar had said on December 7, 2022.
In 2014, the National Democratic Alliance government brought the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act in an attempt to change the system of appointment of judges.
The NJAC was a proposed body, which would have been responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary. The NJAC Act and the Constitutional Amendment Act came into force on April 13, 2015. But the top court on October 16, 2015, struck down the NJAC Act. Th