SC to hear PIL against judge appointment system, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to list for hearing a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the judge-selecting-judge collegium system, a mechanism which was created by the SC through two Constitution bench judgments in 1993 and 1998, taking away a power constitutionally conferred on the executive. A bench headed by CJI D Y Chandrachud asked petitioner Mathews J Nedumpara whether the PIL was maintainable.

Last collegium meet couldn’t take place as Chandrachud, Kohli extended hearing time

It could not take place because Justice Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli continued hearings till 9.15pm, five hours beyond the scheduled closure of business hours.

Justice Lalit then attempted to circulate the names he had proposed for appointment to the SC as judges for approval of the collegium members. It received approval from Justices Sanjay K Kaul and K M Joseph, but Justices Chandrachud and Nazeer strongly objected to the “circulation” method, saying selection of candidates for appointment as judges of the highest constitutional court of the country must be discussed across the table. They had also said the selection of proposed candidates was not broad-based as it failed to consider eligible high court judges from among women, Scheduled Castes and OBCs as well as the minority communities. On October 7, the President appointed Justice Chandrachud as the CJI-designate, thus kicking in the tradition of the incumbent CJI not proceeding with further deliberations on appointments and transfers of judges.

The final collegium resolution, detailing extracts of the deliberations in its last few meetings and uploaded on the SC website on October 9, stated, “The letters of Justices Chandrachud and Nazeer, however, did not disclose any views against any of these candidates. This was brought to their notice and reasons were solicited and/or alternative suggestions were invited vide second communication dated October 2 addressed by the CJI. There was no response to said communication.”

The then CJI during the October 9 meeting had circulated the resolution, to which letters of Justices Chandrachud and Nazeer were attached. After the members signed it, only the resolution was uploaded and not the letters of the two objecting judges.

All stakeholders not heard: Petitioner

Nedumpara said the collegium system was created without hearing all the stakeholders including the aspiring judges. “When Parliament passes a law, like the National Judicial Appointments Commission, there is presumed symbolic representation of each citizen in the debate on the law prior to its enactment. But there was no such opportunity given to all stakeholders prior to creation of collegium system,” he said. The bench said the PIL would be listed before an appropriate bench.


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