Updated: Feb 1
Submitted during Internship under Legal Specs by Divyansh Singla from DBRANLU, Sonepat.
The present Modi-led NDA government has been very critical of the collegium system of the
judiciary. The Collegium system is an arrangement that is established by the judiciary itself in the three judges' cases, through which the judges appoint judges. The Collegium comprising the Chief Justice of India and the other four senior judges of the Supreme Court decision on the appointment and transfer of various judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts.
As soon as the NDA government came to power in 2014, it sought to replace the collegium system by introducing the National Judicial Appointments Committee (NJAC) through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act. However, the judiciary struck down this amendment by terming it unconstitutional. The five-judge bench in the case of Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India held that the amendment violates the basic structure of the constitution as it is detrimental to the independence of the judiciary.
More recently, the attacks on the judiciary by the Central Government have increased since 2022 as soon as the present CJI D.Y. Chandrachud entered the office. The Hon’ble Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankar has been seen in constant criticism of the Judiciary. The Vice President while delivering a speech at the 8th L.M. Singhvi Memorial Lecture organized by JGLS, Sonepat raised his criticism of the judiciary while the CJI was sharing the stage with him and many other judges of the Supreme Court and Members of Parliament were in the audience. He again voiced his criticism against the judiciary while speaking at the 83rd All ;'India Presiding Officers (Assembly Speakers) Conference in Jaipur. He slammed the public posturing from the judicial platforms and ridiculed the Basic Structure Doctrine which was evolved by the judiciary itself in the landmark judgment of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. The Law Minister Mr. Kiren Rijiju to has voiced his sharp criticism of the judiciary in various instances.
While it is true that every government wants to keep a strict check on the judiciary and is more likely to establish control over the judiciary, the NDA government is seen to be very aggressive and determined regarding the same. The judiciary is the custodian of the constitution and the protector of the rights of the citizens. It is eminent for the Judiciary to remain strong if democracy has to survive in the country.