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Collegium vs NJAC: Govt seeks participatory role in judicial appointments


Ever since the Supreme Court declared the NJAC unconstitutional and void, all eyes have been on the Government to see how it responds to the controversial judgment.

The Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, was informed that there won’t be a “complete” change in the Collegium System of selection of judges, rather the government desired a “participatory” role by involving the President and the Prime Minister in the process of judicial appointments.

The memorandum of the procedure, which governs the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and high courts, was put in place succeeding two apex court judgments in the 1990s that established the collegium giving prevalence to the Chief Justice of India in making such appointments.

Both the Supreme Court and the government have a different position on National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) and collegium system, making it a bone of contention between the two pillars of Indian democracy.

National Judicial Appointments Commission is a proposed body which would be responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India. It would recommend judges for the appointment for the post of the Chief Justice of India, judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of High Courts and other judges of High Courts.

It would also look after the transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court. The body would, as it states, ensure the individual’s ability, merit and other criteria mentioned in the regulations related to the act.

Whereas in the Collegium System, the Chief Justice of India and a forum of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court recommend the appointments and transfers of judges. The system has evolved through Supreme Court judgments in the Three Judges Cases (October 28, 1998).

The biggest criticism put across by the government against collegium system is that it’s creating imperium within imperia in the Supreme Court. The system is also blamed for being a ‘give and take’ arrangement building a gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, which according to them is also the reason for the delay in justice delivered by them.

This internal cluster of negotiation to be in the bracket of “haves” can possibly be attributed to greed, corruption in high judicial collaboration, which can undesirably affect the interest of this country.

Though no structural reform can guarantee a change in personal deeds, but a stringent enforcement of a structured law can obligate people to improve their performances. In a democratic system of society, where the government works for the people, the aim should be of providing an unambiguous judicial system for the people to be happy and confident of the decisions taken by the authority.

The government should try to provide the same by bringing reforms to even the top most authority of constitutional watchdogs, and with NJAC, the government claims to target the same.

Nothing can be rectified without the prior knowledge of its prevalence, hence this opaque collegium system needs to be reviewed. The government might not be right in all its assertions on the collegium system but, with NJAC being implemented, the reality can come in the public domain. This will create a transparent atmosphere of work through which the civic society can develop a sense of empowerment and confidence in the judicial system of India.

Lastly, in the fast developing society of India, changes are bound to take place and there is no harm in trying innovative ways to achieve the ultimate motto of the betterment of our society. The collegium system was also an amended attempt to improve the previous ‘executive-controlled system’ and now, with the loopholes of the collegium system becoming apparent, India should not shy away from trying the new methods provided by National Judicial Appointments Commission.

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull.
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull.

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.