Attorney General for India addresses Institute of Law, Nirma University at its 8th Public Lecture

The decision on the ongoing case of the judicial appointments will become 3rd or 4th landmark case for judiciary” says Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, Attorney General for India today, at Institute of Law, Nirma University’s 8th Public Lecture on Judicial Appointment Commission : A need for Reform? The lecture was organised under the Institute’s Annual Public Lecture Series which gives a distinct mark in the legal education of the country. Dr. Karsanbhai K. Patel, President, Nirma University and Dr. Anup Singh, Director General, Nirma University presided over the function.
Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal, Director and Dean, Institute of Law, Nirma University welcomed the gathering and discussed how this widely debated topic will have huge impact on the adjudication system in India.
Mr. Mukul Rohatgi stated that the present topic is a live issue and explained the historical significance laid down by various landmark judgments famously known as “Judges Transfer Cases”. In 1st Judges Case, ordinary interpretation of Article 124 was made so as to the term “Consultation” would imply mere consultation only. But in the 2nd Judges Transfer Case, the then 9 judge bench stated that the term consultation indeed meant concurrence thereby creating the Collegium system. The collegium system recommends the names for the appointment of judges to the Executive. He criticised these cases on the fact that they overlooked the views of the framers of Constitution on the interpretation of the term “consultation” in Article 124, which talks about appointment of judges. In reference to this, he also quoted passages from the Constituent Assembly Debates to showcase what the framers meant by the word “Consultation”. This collegium system was also criticised by various Supreme Court judges including one of the judges quoting “The best kept secrets of India is the way the Collegium functions” thereby indicating to the lack of transparency and lack of a publicly declared procedure or criteria for the same.
He quoted passages from the Constituent Assembly Debates and explained the need as to independent committee to appoint judges. He also addressed the gathering that the 99th Constitutional Amendment and National Judicial Accountability Commission Act – whch empowers the committee to appoint judges based on ability and integrity, thereby bringing forth quality and transperancy in the judicial system. He gave examples of judicial systems of various other nations like South Africa, USA, UK, Australia and many more to reiterate his arguments.
The main challenge as stated by Mr. Mukul Rohatgi was substituting the predominance of the Chief Justice who had the final say, to a body which has two other eminent non legal person who have the final say as per the NJAC. The new system will allow the voice of the civil society to be heard and bring the quality of judicial system under the public gaze. He also mentioned that the result of the ongoing case will be the third or fourth important landmark case for judiciary as it will decide how the judges will be selected in our country. Thereby he ended his lecture by stating the need for reforms will be established if the present judgment will be passed in the favour of National Judicial Appointment Commission.
Mr. Mukul Rohatgi also praised the Institute of Law’s model of conducting continous interaction with eminent lawyers and judges for students and also recommended that this model should be followed elsewhere to empower young law students.
The Lecture ended with the release of the Nirma University Law Journal by the dignitaries. This Annual Public Lecture Series has witnessed the eminent speakers like Mr. Soli Sorabjee, Mr. Gopal Subramanium, Prof. Upendra Baxi, Mr. Anil Diwan etc.
The lecture ended with vote of thanks given by Dr. Tarkesh Molia, Associate Professor, IL-NU.

ABOUT NIRMA UNIVERSITY

Nirma University is one of India’s leading universities based in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). The University was established in the year 2003 as a Statutory University under a special act passed by the Gujarat State Legislative Assembly. It is recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) under Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act. The University is duly accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The University is a member of Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

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