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Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association vs. Union of India
“The judiciary cannot risk being caught in a web of indebtedness towards the government.”
It is after 35 years that a constitutional amendment has been quashed by the top court.
Within a year of both houses of Union Legislature passed much awaited National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, the Supreme Court struck down the NJAC Act by 4:1. Justices J S Khehar, MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel declared the 99th Amendment and NJAC Act unconstitutional while lone minority, Justice Chelameswar upheld it. The judgement rendered by five judges runs over 1000 pages.
Major observations of the Supreme Court:
The inclusion of the Union Minister of Law and Justice as an ex officio Member of the NJAC is:
Culture of Reciprocity: Bench feared a culture of “reciprocity” of favours: FEELINGS OF PAY BACK TO POLITICAL-EXECUTIVE WOULD BE DISASTROUS TO THE INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY, especially when govt is the major litigant in higher courts.
Yakub Abdul Razak Memon vs. State of Maharashtra
The year 2015 witnessed a rare event of the Apex Court opening its gates for hearing an urgent Writ petition. Yakub Memon’s final plea before the Apex Court was heard in Court Room 4 which was opened for an unprecedented 90-minute hearing that started at 3.20 AM and ended a little before dawn. The Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice P.C. Pant agreed and observed that granting further time was not necessary in the present case. The bench said the execution was “inevitable” after rejection of the mercy petitions. Yakub was executed the very next day on his birthday.
Observations of the Supreme Court:
Memon’s review petition was heard for ten days, when law mandates a hearing of only half an hour.
Published with inputs from Swapnil