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NJAC has component of hit and trial experiment, says Central government

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) for appointments to higher judiciary had a component of a “hit and trial” experiment for finding the best people for the posts.

Contending that there was an element of uncertainty in every new experiment, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the constitution bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that similarly there was “hit and trial” component in the NJAC.

Urging the court that the NJAC should be given a chance to have its run before being subjected to any critical evaluation, Rohatgi said “God knows” what would eventually emerge from it in terms of selection of judges.

But the court was not convinced.

“Only problem is that we can’t leave it to God. It is not a hit and trial business,” the court told Rohatgi reminding him that it was too serious an issue to be left to “hit and trial” or “God”.

At this, Rohatgi said: “If there could be hit and trial for democracy, hit and trial for secularism, hit and trial for federalism, then why not judiciary. Hit and trial is a part of democracy.”

Attacking the collegium system of appointment as being devoid of “transparency, rules and guidelines and something happening in a closed room away from sunlight”, he however said the blame for the system’s failure lay at the doorsteps of the government, but sought to know if this still prevented the parliament from putting in place a “broad-based, healthier, transparent” NJAC.

At this, the court asked him to give it the names of the people who were “good” and were recommended for appointment to higher judiciary by the government but were not accepted by the collegium.

“Show us one incident, where there was a good material (name recommended). You (government) projected that material and sent it to collegium and it was returned,” it said.

Justice Kurian once again asked Rohatgi to furnish the list of the people recommended by the collegium for appointment but returned by the government for reconsideration and the collegium again reiterated the names.

Its query came while addressing the contention that under the collegium system – also known as judges appointing judges – the government has no voice and there was give and take amongst the judges involving “you scratch my back, I will scratch yours” in a closed room without sunlight.

Referring to an instance where after receiving a positive report on the credentials of a person recommended for appointment as judge by the collegium, the government sought another report from the Intelligence Bureau, the court asked: “What is the question or the occasion (for the government) to ask for the second opinion (of the IB)… we want to know the working of the system.”

“It is a question of the working of a system,” the court told the Attorney General as he reiterated his submission that “once a new system (for judges’ appointment) comes, it is not in the provinces of the judiciary to decide on its validity on the basis of comparison with other models (collegium system)”.

The court is hearing a batch of petitions including one by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) along with the Bar Association of India, NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others challenging the constitutional validity of the constitution’s Ninety Nine Amendment Act, 2014 and NJAC Act, 2014.

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Waves of black as Modi visits Chennai

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (FILE PHOTO)

Black flags and balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with helicopter as the chosen mode of transport in the wake of statewide agitation demanding constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

Protests were also held with black flags and placards throughout Tamil Nadu in cities like Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Coimbatore and Tuticorin against the Prime Minister’s brief visit to the state and the Centre’s failure to constitute the CMB despite a Supreme Court order. Black flags were hoisted on homes and business establishments across the state.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Narendra Modi welcomed with black flags in chennai.

In a bid to avoid protesters, Modi, who arrived here by a special aircraft in the morning, chose a helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai, in neighbouring Kanchipuram district where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry. From there he took another chopper to come to IIT Madras, in the heart of the city. From there, he took a one-kilometre ride by car to the neighbouring Adyar Cancer Institute for an event.

The Prime Minister walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the Cancer Institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently but held posters demanding a Cauvery Management Board as ordered by the Supreme Court — an issue which has whipped up emotions in Tamil Nadu. Modi then left by helicopter to the airport before returning to Delhi.

Also Read: Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

#Go back Modi trended on top as netizens took to the cyberspace to register their protest against the Central government’s failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin, who was on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan. “The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come,” he said taking a dig at Modi.

A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt. DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport.

In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi’s visit. They were arrested.

will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
Cauvery River Dispute is going on for a while now. Wikimedia Commons

While MDMK chief Vaiko held a black flag protest in Velachery, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was arrested elsewhere. Vaiko called Modi a “coward” for choosing to fly. Political leaders Velmurugan and P. Nedumaran were arrested from Alandur metro station in Chennai for holding black flag protests.

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday. IANS