Senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for Maharashtra, told a five-judge bench headed by Justice J S Khehar that the independence of judiciary does not necessarily require that the judges be appointed by the collegium system.

"In no country of the world, judges are appointed by collegium/judiciary. Instead it is done by the executive in consultation with judges", he told the bench which also comprised justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel.

Besides Maharashtra, the counsel for BJP-ruled states, Rajasthan, Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Gujarat, also advanced arguments in favour of the NJAC and enabling 99th Constitutional amendment.

At the outset, Andhyarujina    said that the collegium system has "obvious problems", which were "lack of transparency" due to the "secretive method" of appointing judges, "lack of accountability" and "lack of diversity".

He said the basic question was whether there was a disruption of the basic structure of the Constitution and independence of judiciary by the NJAC.

The lawyer for Maharashtra said that "there is not a word" in the Constitution that the collegium system is a part of its basic structure or that it is the only method of appointing judges.

He also gave instances, like that of Justice V R Krishna Iyer, where judges decided cases without any "fear" or "favour".

"There is no basis that independence of judiciary can be secured only by appointment of judges by judges or by according primacy to their opinion," he further said.

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