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06 Oct 2017

SC decides to make recommendations of judicial appointments public

SC collegium to make judges' appointments public

To promote transparency in the process of judicial appointments, SC has announced that all the decisions taken by its five-member collegium regarding appointment, promotion and transfer of judges will be made public and will be published on the SC website.

The SC collegium system has often faced criticism for not having objective criteria for deciding on appointments.

Read on to know more!

In context

SC collegium to make judges' appointments public
How does the SC collegium system work?

SC collegium

How does the SC collegium system work?

Though not mentioned in the Constitution, SC collegium system has evolved through SC judgments.

SC collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and comprises the four senior-most judges of the SC, who decide upon judicial appointments.

Even high court judges' appointments reach government after SC collegium's approval.

All judges of the higher judiciary are appointed through the collegium system.

Why is the collegium system criticized?

The collegium system has often been called non-transparent as there is no distinct procedure or criteria laid down for appointment of judges. It is viewed as a closed-door affair with no public knowledge about how the decisions are taken.

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What steps have been taken to address this issue?

NDA government wants to replace the collegium system with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The Justice MN Venkatachaliah Commission, set up in 2000, had suggested modifications.

NJAC consisting of CJI, three senior-most judges, law minister and an eminent public individual was suggested for appointing judges.

A constitutional amendment was swiftly passed but was shot down as unconstitutional by a five-judge Bench in 2015.

Presently, how are appointments being made?

Present situation

Presently, how are appointments being made?

The 2015 SC order stipulated a new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for deciding future judicial appointments that would address the issues of transparency and lack of eligibility rules.

This MoP was to be drafted by government in consultation with the CJI.

However, government and collegium have failed to reach a consensus regarding the MoP's guidelines.

Thus, government has been clearing appointments slowly.


For promoting transparency, collegium decides to make appointments public

CJI Dipak Misra-headed collegium has decided to make the recommendations public by publishing it on the SC website's "Collegium resolutions" tab.

They will provide reasons for their decision as the criteria considered are different for each case.

This is a major step to ensure transparency as the CJI will probably appoint 10 SC judges and fill 24 HC vacancies in the near future.

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