The five-judge constitutional bench, headed by Justice J S Khehar, said that it will hear the arguments on merit and also clarified that if required then the matter can be referred to a larger bench.
    
The bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed that as an interim measure, additional High Court judges, whose present stint is due to end in near future, will continue in office for three months.
    
It also said that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and others can advance arguments on merits.
    
Earlier during the day, senior advocate F S Nariman, appearing for Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association, sought a stay on the operation of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) on the ground that in any case, the new system was not functioning as the Chief Justice of India has not been participating in it.
    
The apex court had yesterday made it clear that it would first decide on the issue of referring the challenge to NJAC to a larger bench and then go into the merits of case.
    
Senior advocates Nariman and Ram Jethmalani, who are arguing against the NJAC Act, had said issue of referring the matter to a larger bench was an exercise in futility as it was "delaying tactics" by the Centre.
    
Rohatgi, in his rejoinder submission, had said, "I dare say this that it is a case of extreme importance". This ground alone can be used to refer it to a  bench of "sufficient strength", he had said.
    
He had further submitted that the bench cannot say that it would decide the issue of validity of NJAC before going the "whole hog".
    
Rohtagi had said that the pleas challenging the new law be referred to a larger bench as the interpretation of Article 124 (relating to appointment of judges) by two earlier nine-judge bench verdicts need to be "re-looked".

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