Hours after the Supreme Court struck down the Constitution’s 99th amendment and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act as unconstitutional, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday described the decision as a setback to parliamentary sovereignty but not to the government.
“While upholding very dearly the principle of independence of judiciary, I regret to say that parliamentary sovereignty has received a setback,” the Union Communications and Information Technology Minister said at the BJP headquarters here.
The minister maintained that the “NJAC was a part of judicial reforms that was exercised after deep consideration”.
The Supreme Court earlier today restored the collegium system for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
“In our view, this exercise was undertaken after deep consideration of more than 20 years, as part of judicial reforms. We will go through the judgment and come out with a structured response,” Prasad said.
“It was a unique moment in the democratic polity of India that all political formations were unanimous that the collegium system needs to be replaced by the National Judicial Appointments Commission,” said Prasad, a former law minister and himself a practising senior lawyer at the Supreme Court.
“Various commissions headed by eminent judges, Administrative Reforms Commission and different parliamentary committees recommended the NJAC,” the union minister said.
“Even former chief justice of India JS Verma had publicly raised misgivings on the working of the collegium system and suggested a serious rethink,” he added.