New Delhi: The Supreme Court today quizzed government over the role of two eminent persons in the six-member National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) wondering how a person with no background of law can help in determining the suitability of a person to be a judge of the higher judiciary.
The government also faced a tough time on its stand the new law was a "public stated" process for appointment of judges with the court observing that "It is a matter of time to see whether our civil society is mature enough".
"If the eminent person is not associated with law or has no nexus with law, what is their role? What will they assist the Commission in finding out?
"You are saying they will have material data with them and identify the facts based on that. We don't need them to see which judge has settled how many cases in a year or what is their annul income," a five-judge bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said.
The observations came during Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi's submissions that the new law for appointing judges was more transparent and in sync with the "need of the times".
"What is the harm? Where is the stumbling block that we should not have eminent persons when they had no legal aptitude. This method is publicly stated process of appointment. It is more accountable, upholds democracy, rule of law and checks and balances.
"Sensitivity does not come from reading law books. Today we have only one woman judge in the Supreme Court. Why? There is something wrong in the previous system which needs to be changed," Rohatgi told a bench, also comprising justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, which is at the last lap of its marathon hearing to determine the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act.
"It is the wisdom of parliament to have this method. It is shocking to say that this method will bring down the world. This is nitpicking. Today you have a codified mix," he said.