New Delhi: In a landmark decision to ensure transparency in judicial appointments, the Supreme Court collegium — a panel of the country’s top five judges headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra — has decided to share all its discussions and decisions on the appointments and transfers of apex court and high court judges.
The collegium, including Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, also decided that it will make public the reasons for not recommending certain candidates for appointment as judges.
On Friday itself, details related to selection of six judges for the Madras high court and three judges for the Kerala high court were uploaded on the apex court’s website, under a new section marked as “Collegium Resolutions”.
The details on the nine judges included views of the chief justices of both the high courts and other judges who were familiar with the candidates. The confidential report of the Intelligence Bureau about each candidate was also mentioned.
In a resolution adopted on October 3, but made public on Friday, the collegium said, “The decisions henceforth taken by the collegium indicating reasons, shall be put on the website of Supreme Court, when recommendation(s)is/are sent to government with regard to cases relating to initial elevation to high court Bench, confirmation as permanent judge(s) of high court, elevation to the post of chief justice of high court, transfer of high court chief justices/judges and elevation to Supreme Court, because on each occasion, the material which is considered by the collegium is different.”
“The resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the collegium system,” the resolution said.
The collegium system of “judges appointing judges” had been criticised by the government while calling for greater transparency and accountability.
The collegium system of appointment of judges was put in place by the Supreme Court in 1993 in a bid to shield political intervention in judicial recruitments. Later, the system had been criticised on the grounds of being opaque.
The Centre enacted the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act in 2014 to regulate appointment of judges and give a bigger role to the Union government in the selection process. However, the apex court in October 2015 declared the law unconstitutional and allowed the collegium system to remain force.