Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 | Last Update : 07:16 PM IST
An unusually high number of vacancies in high courts reflect on how long the decision-making process takes.
The Supreme Court has taken a very bold step under the new Chief Justice of India to lend transparency to the decision-making process of the collegium. The court will post on its website all decisions relating to the elevation, transfers and appointments of judges made by the collegium. More significantly, it will also post reasons for rejection of judges. Just by making public its decisions, the opaqueness of the collegium system of appointment may not go away. However, this could pave the way for true transparency in a system of appointment whose very principle can be questioned as judges chose that they would themselves choose who would become members of the highest judiciary.
There can be no perfect system of judging the capabilities of claimants to any top posts. Honest and efficient judges are most needed in a legal system that has been overtaken by the sheer weight of pendency of cases. An unusually high number of vacancies in high courts reflect on how long the decision-making process takes. Having taken over the sole responsibility of appointing judges, it’s up to the collegium to bring about greater efficiency in the system. That it took the curious case of one judge’s sideways movement and his consequent resignation to trigger this transparency thrust is not reassuring. But the transfer of Jayant Patel has not been explained too lucidly, with the collegium merely reiterating it was “a conscious and unanimous decision taken after adequate deliberation keeping in view the input on record”. Just goes to prove that even publicised decisions may not wipe away the cynical veil of opaqueness.