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Q. Justice Chelameswar’s dissent: Discuss the issues raised by Justice Chelameswar on collegium system and its possible impact.
Sep 06, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently Justice J. Chelameswar announced that he will boycott Supreme Court collegiums meetings on the grounds that its functioning lacked transparency. Justice Chelameswar is part of the five-member collegiums system which clears appointments to the top court and collegium that deals with intra-high court transfers.

Background-

  • Justice Chelameswar is lone judge who disagreed with the majority on a Constitution Bench that struck down the law enacted to establish a National Judicial Appointments Commission.
  • In his judgement Justice has spoken elaborately on the ills of the system. He had articulated his view that the executive cannot be shut out of judicial appointments, and that according primacy to the judiciary in the matter of appointments is not the only way to preserve its independence.

Issues raised on collegium system-

  • In a letter to the Chief Justice, Justice Chelameswar has raised the issue of lack of transparency in the collegium’s functioning.
  • He said that he will skip the meetings of the Supreme Court Collegium till the highest judiciary ushers in transparency.
  • According to Justice Chelameswar, he took the stand solely for the cause of transparency and was not fighting for any personal gain.

Its impact-

  • Recent stand by Justice Chelameswar has brought the focus again on the manner in which the judiciary functions on its administrative side.
  • It may further delay the finalisation of the collegium’s view on the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment and transfer of judges.
  • With over 480 vacancies in the high courts and three in the Supreme Court, differences within the collegium may delay appointments, leading to significant alterations in the tenure and promotion prospects of judges and Chief Justices.
  • But Justice Chelameswar’s boycott is undoubtedly based on principle, and intended towards the cause of transparency. Such dissent often leads to reforms, and reforms in appointments of judges were indeed most needed.

Suggestions-

  • There is an urgent need of fresh and transparent procedure for appointments was to be worked out, and it should be by the executive.
  • Public interest, especially the principle of judicial independence, will be better served if the procedure under preparation is thrown open to a debate.
  • Similarly all information about recruitment and its procedure should be made public in advance.

Conclusion-

The stand taken by Justice Chelmeswar demonstrates the need of transparency in the appointment of judges to higher Judiciary. Even majority of judges in the NJAC case admitted that there is need for infusion of transparency, hence present case will helps in establishing transparency in the system.


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