Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record & Ors. v. Union of India

Read this analysis to learn how the 9 judges in the Supreme Court Advocate on Record case upheld the independence of judiciary and secured the rule of law in India.
CITATIONAIR 1994 SC 268
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice S.R. Pandian, Justice A.M. Ahmadi, Justice J.S. Verma, Justice M.M. Punchi, Justice G.N. Dayal and Justice A.S. Anand
DATE OF JUDGEMENT06.10.1993

Introduction

The Constitution of India is the above all laws in India. It lays down the framework through which all the rules, regulations, powers and duties of the every authority are being assigned. It defines Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principle of State Policy and is treated as the longest written constitution of the world. It was adopted in the year 1949 on November 26. There are in total 101 Amendments so far and latest amendment is of the introduction of Goods and Services Act. However, in this case the amendment which we will be dealing with is 99th Amendment which has now being declared as unconstitutional and void. The 99th Amendment is all about inserting a new Article 124A which states that a National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) consist of a Chairperson who is Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, Law Minister of India and two other members who are nominated in every three years by the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and one more member. Also, another Article 124B which describes the functions of the NJAC is as follows; firstly, suggesting the appointment of Chief Justice of India and other judges of Supreme Court and High Court. Secondly, suggesting the transfer of the judge and Chief Justice of India. Thirdly, checking that the person appointed have that capabilities. But this Act violates the Independence of Judiciary which in the words of a member of the Constituent Assembly. “This is the institution which will preserve those fundamental rights and secure to every citizen, the rights that have been given to him under the Constitution. Hence, it must naturally be above all interference by the Executive. The Supreme Court is the watchdog of democracy.” According to Austin “The members of the Constituent Assembly envisaged the judiciary as a bastion of rights and of justice. The Assembly has been careful to keep judiciary out of politics.”So, this case will deal with the validity of the Amendment 99th of the Constitution of India which brings (NJAC).

Also Read  Smt. Gian Kaur v. The State of Punjab

Facts

The facts of the case are as follows: A group of petitions were filed challenging the validity of the 99th Amendment of the Indian Constitution. It is stated that the 99th Amendment will change the basic structure of the Constitution so this amendment should be set aside. 

The petitioner also submitted that according to the Article 145(3) of the Indian Constitution all the petitions should be referred to a Bench of Five Judges due the reason that it is matter of Constitutional Interpretation and also, not to brought the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act (NJAC) till the time petitions are disposed off.

Issues

The main issue in the case was: Whether 99th Amendment valid or not?

Summary of court decision and judgment

The Supreme Court in this decision with the five member bench involving Justice Khehar, J. Chelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph, A. K. gave a decision that National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and 99th Amendment as unconstitutional and void due to the fact that the Act violates the independence of judiciary which is the basic structure of the constitution and should not be the one which completely shakes the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. It is stated that anything which violates the basic structure of the Indian Constitution through any law then that law should be considered as unconstitutional and void.

Analysis

After analyzing the case, it is observed that bench of five members in the apex court has beautifully dealt in the matter and gave such a decision after thirty days of arguments. The petitioner in this case didn’t want the Act to be enforced till the time petition is being disposed off and in contradiction the respondent said that the petitioner is contention are worthless as till the time it is not enforced and causes are ascertain we can’t say anything about this. The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) will compose of six members who are Chief Justice, two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister and two other members who are being appointed by Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India. Also, functions of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) are defined. This appointed in done after three years. But, the fact is that this commission violates the Independence of Judiciary which is defined in basic structure of Constitution of India.

Also Read  Dr. Pradeep Jain Etc. v. Union of India & Ors.

Further, it is stated that this judgement is landmark judgement which has led to more clarity on this fact which emphasizes that the basic structure of the Indian Constitution should not be violated while enforcing any amendment in the Constitution. The issue involved in this has excellently being answered in the judgment and the reason given in this regard is simple, clear and with better understanding for all. 

Conclusion

After this landmark judgment, one thing is made clear that the constitution is superior to all laws in India. It is the Constitution which provides us the framework in which all the rules and regulation and also, the powers and duty of all the authorities are defined. It also provides us with various Fundamental Rights like Right to Freedom, Right to Equality, Right against Exploitation, Right to Live with Personal Liberty, Right to Religion, etc. Also, it gives us 10 Fundamental Duties and Directive Principle of State Policy and which makes it the longest constitution. After this case, the fact that Indian Constitution is superior is attained as the 99th Amendment which leads to the introduction of the new Sections 124A and 124B which deal with the composition of National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) and functions provided by National Judicial Appointment of Commission (NJAC) respectively is declared as unconstitutional and void. Independence of Judiciary which states that the Judiciary is an independent body, but this amendment violates it. Thus, it is a concept of separation of powers. The court has clearly defined everything and this we come precedent for upcoming cases.