Collegium system of judges’ appointment near-perfect model: Ex-CJI Lalit

Collegium system of judges’ appointment near-perfect model: Ex-CJI Lalit

Former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit believes the collegium system of appointment of judges is a “fool-proof” and “near-perfect” model.

Justice (Retd) Lalit was speaking at an event organised by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on Judicial Appointments and Reforms on Saturday (February 18) when he made the observation. He said a rigorous process is involved in recommending names for judgeship of constitutional courts.

“According to me, we don’t have a system better than the collegium system. If we don’t have anything qualitatively better than the collegium system, naturally, we must work towards making it possible that this collegium system survives. Today, the model as per which we work is a near-perfect model,” said Justice (retd) Lalit.

Also read: Collegium system row: Justice Nariman slams Law Minister Rijiju

The former CJI, who retired in November 2022, said judiciary is in a better position to adjudicate on the merits of the potential candidates, as they have seen their work over the years.

“When the matter reaches the SC collegium, there is a fully perfect situation, whether the name be accepted or not… It’s not as if it is a whimsical exercise taken by someone. It’s a fool-proof arrangement,” he said.

The debate over collegium system

The collegium system, in which sitting judges appoint judges to the constitutional courts, has become a major bone of contention between the judiciary and the government.

Wading into the debate over the collegium system, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar recently said by scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), which was established by an Act of parliament, the Supreme Court severely compromised parliamentary sovereignty and disregarded the mandate of the people.

The NJAC Act, which sought to overturn the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges, was struck down by the top court which termed it as unconstitutional.

Watch: RS Sodhi: Supreme Court collegium cannot hijack the Constitution

Dhankhar’s remarks came amid frequent run-ins between the government and the judiciary.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has often criticised the collegium system over its alleged opaqueness and called it “alien to the Constitution”.

A bench of the apex court recently wondered whether the collegium’s recommendations for the appointment of judges were being withheld by the government because the SC struck down the NJAC Act brought in to replace the collegium system.

(With agency inputs)

Read More
Next Story