CJI Chandrachud Agreed to List Plea to Review Collegium System for Appointment of Judges [National Judicial Appointments Commission]

Justice DY Chandrachud Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: 18 November 2022 at 18:35 IST

The Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud consented to list a writ petition calling for a review of the collegium system for appointment of judges for the Supreme Court and the High Courts in due course.

The National Judicial Appointments Commission, or NJAC, which briefly provided the government an equal involvement with the judiciary in the appointment of judges to the constitutional courts before it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015, was to be reinstated as a result of the petition.

The appeal comes in response to recent rhetorical criticisms of the collegium system by Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who called it opaque.

In its submission the counsel Mathews J. Nedumpara, counsel of the petitioner, the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, which established the NJAC mechanism, was declared invalid by the Constitution Bench verdict of October 2015.

The 2015 verdict, according to the petition, should be declared null and illegal from the start because it reinstated the collegium system. The collegium system was described by the petitioners as “a euphemism for nepotism and bias”.

According to the report, the petitioners turned to the Supreme Court after making numerous requests to the Center to develop a different procedure from the collegium system.

With the exception of Shri Ram Jethmalani’s lone no vote, both Houses of Parliament unanimously approved the NJAC, as did the 21 State Assemblies. Judges are only appointed and removed under the authority of legislative and executive policy. It was in no way justifiable. As a result, the petition claimed, it is the responsibility of both the government and the Opposition to reinstate the NJAC and to take all necessary actions.

Chief Justice Chandrachud made a point to highlight that a court decision had created the collegium structure. The collegium system was established in 1993 as a result of a nine-judge Bench ruling. The CJI also questioned whether a writ petition could be used to contest a ruling.

According to the petition, the selection process for judges should be transparent and open, including posting job openings and inviting “all eligible and desirous” individuals to submit applications. The general public should be permitted to express their disapproval of the candidates.

The petitioners and thousands of lawyers who are qualified, deserving, and deserve to be taken into consideration have been denied equal chance as a result of the collegium system of appointing judges. The petition contended that a mechanism to replace the collegium was urgently needed

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