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The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

People Not Happy with Collegium System, It Is The Duty Of Government to Appoint Judges: Union Law Minister

People Not Happy with Collegium System, It Is The Duty Of Government to Appoint Judges: Union Law Minister

Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju stated that the people of the country are discontent with the collegium system and that, in the spirit of the Indian Constitution, it is the government’s responsibility to choose judges.

He went on to say that while people may see the politics among leaders, they are unaware of the politics going on inside the judiciary when nominating judges because the deliberations (during collegium meetings) are intensive. He went on to say that the system is opaque and not transparent. The Law Minister also went on to say that such a practice where judges appoint judges themselves happens only in India.

Addressing the ‘Sabarmati Samvad’ event held by ‘Panchjanya,’ a monthly magazine published by the RSS, the Law Minister stated that he has seen that half of the time judges are engaged deciding appointments, which hampers their core responsibility, that is to deliver justice.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju emphasised the need to reconsider the collegium system of appointments to the higher judiciary, stating that until 1993, every judge in India was appointed by the law ministry in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, and this practise produced very eminent judges at the time.

However, he emphasised that the Supreme Court defined consultation [as it appears in Article 124(2) of the Indian Constitution] as consent, and that the judiciary expanded the collegium structure in 1998.

He also noted that, “If Judges are involved in the appointment of the Judges, they can’t be immune to criticism. While selecting Judges, it is but natural that you would recommend people who are known to you. Judges write too, I have those secret documents, but still, I am telling you that when judges send comments about the recommendees, they say…I know him, he appears before me…his character is good, I am happy with his work, etc. Now, when you have come into the executive process, then it is natural that you would recommend only those who are known to you, who are related to your family, who are close to you. Such Allegations [‘Uncle Judge Syndrome’] are raised when the judges are involved in the appointment of fellow judges. Before 1993, no Judges were criticized for Judicial appointments, because they were not part of the process”

The Supreme Court essentially established the Collegium system in the Second Judges Case (1993), concluding that “consultation” truly meant “concurrence.” The Supreme Court underlined that it was not the CJI’s individual position, but an institutional opinion formulated in collaboration with the Supreme Court’s two senior-most judges, and that it would be binding on the administration

The collegium is now led by the Chief Justice of India and includes four of the court’s most senior members.