Is collegium system foolproof?
Former Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit says that the collegium of the Supreme Court is correct. He said that there is no need for any change in it. The former CJI said this when asked about Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s recent remarks on the Supreme Court collegium. The Union Minister had termed the collegium system as ‘opaque’. Justice Lalit said, it is perfect and does not require any fine tuning. The former CJI reiterated that the collegium system is foolproof. The former CJI said that when it comes to appointment of judges in the High Court, the Collegium in the High Court recommends 1+2. After this, this recommendation goes to the state government. Inputs from the government are also brought on record, then the matter reaches the central government.
What is Collegium System?
The Collegium is a system for recommending the appointment and transfer of judges to the High Court and Supreme Court of the country. The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India. Four other senior most judges of the Supreme Court attend. The collegium of a High Court is headed by its Chief Justice and four other senior most judges of that court. The judges of the higher judiciary are appointed through the collegium system only. The role of the government in this process is only after the name is decided by the collegium. The collegium recommends names to the government for appointment as judges and sends them to the Centre. The final decision on the appointment of judges is taken by the Central Government.
nothing to do with the equation with the government
Regarding the delay in the approval of the recommended names sent by the collegium to the central government, the former CJI said that it has nothing to do with the equation with the government. It depends on who is the man whose name is recommended. This process is purely on the basis of recommended names. He said that it has nothing to do with the CJI in particular. It is a five-judge body that recommends names. He said that the judges are appointed by the collegium system and not by the Chief Justice. He said that the CJI only initiates the name recommendation. After this, there is a consensus on his name in the collegium only then it is recommended.
There is nothing wrong with the collegium system
The former CJI spoke on a number of issues, including the functioning of the collegium system, less number of women in the judiciary, pendency of cases and the list of cases, especially before constitution benches. On the criticism about the ‘appointment of judges on behalf of judges’ ie collegium system in the higher judiciary, he said that there is nothing wrong in it. He said that the collegium system is going to continue. He said that this is an established standard, where judges select judges. The former CJI said the fundamentals of the system can be rectified. Responding to a question on the short tenure of judges in the apex court, he said that in a country with a vast talent pool, it is better that judges retire and new judges come regularly.