8 High Court judges and an advocate are recommended for the Supreme Court by the CollegiumContext:
- The Supreme Court Collegium has proposed nine names to the government for appointment as Court judges, including Karnataka High Court judge B.V. Nagarathna, Supreme who could become India’s first woman Chief Justice in a few years.
- For the first time, the Collegium has proposed three female judges in a single resolution. As a result, it has sent a powerful message in favor of women’s representation in the highest courts.
- It has also maintained a recent pattern of proposing direct nominations to the Supreme Court Bench from the Supreme Court Bar.
- Six judicial officials and a judicial member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal have also been recommended for appointment as Telangana High Court judges.
Eligibility to serve on the Supreme Court:Article 124 of the Indian Constitution specifies the eligibility requirements.
- An individual must be an Indian citizen to serve as a Supreme Court judge.
- In terms of age, no one should be over the age of 65.
- A person must have served as a judge of one or more high courts for at least five years (consecutively), or be an advocate in the High Court for at least ten years, or be a famous jurist.
Collegium and National Judicial Appointment commission (NJAC)Background:
- The Supreme Court justices’ committee and the government are at odds about who has the last say in appointing judges in the justice system. A collegium is a two-decade-old Indian innovation founded in the name of judicial independence. However, some critics claim that it has resulted in a muddled judicial system.
What does the constitution actually prescribe?
- The appointment of Supreme Court judges is governed by Article 124. It states that the President should make the appointment after consulting with as many judges from the High Courts and the Supreme Court as he or she deems necessary. Except for his or her own nominations, the CJI must be consulted.
Arguments against the collegium system
- It is seen as a behind-closed-doors operation lacking a formal and transparent procedure. As a result of these prejudices, concerns of corruption and nepotism may occur throughout the selecting process.
- This approach fails to recognise a number of excellent junior judges and advocates.
- The collegium has also been chastised for failing to maintain appointments on time. Vacancies in the judiciary are at an all-time high.
- When previous rivalries between collegium members result in vetoes of each other’s favourites, collegium might get stuck.
Why was NJAC struck down?
- The NJAC’s composition, particularly the participation of the Union Law Minister and two renowned persons, violated the separation of powers theory.
- Because the NJAC legislation provided any two members a veto over all decisions, it’s unclear if the executive representatives could overturn the judicial members.
- The court also believed that the new institutional procedure for appointing judges harmed the judiciary’s independence, which is a fundamental aspect of the constitution.
- The amendment’s sections were likewise insufficient in preserving the judiciary’s primacy.
Memorandum of procedure (MoP)
- It has been requested for the first time to include merit and integrity as a primary criterion for appointing judges to the higher judiciary. At the start of the year, a notice of vacancies for judges shall be posted on the high courts’ website for appointments.
- A criterion of merit for elevation to chief judge of a high court should be the evaluation of judgments rendered and performance appraisal.
- According to the MoP, up to three supreme court justices must be chosen from among notable members of the bar and distinguished jurists with a demonstrated track record in their disciplines.
- The Supreme Court will establish a permanent secretariat to keep track of high court judges’ records, schedule Collegium meetings, and receive recommendations and complaints about nominations.
- A new basis of objection to appointing a judge has been added: national security and the public interest.
- It argues that seniority as a chief justice judge of the high court should be the primary criterion for appointing justices to the Supreme Court.
- The procedure for accepting applications for High Court judgeships should be followed. This is done in the United Kingdom, and it can be done in India as well. The applicants’ links and affiliations with serving and former judges must be fully disclosed.
- There should be a clear cut appointment policy that covers eligibility requirements, retirement age, seniority, and merit, among other things, that requires the least amount of human judgement and gives the appointers the least amount of discretion.
- The Collegium should explain why a candidate was selected, whether it was due to seniority or merit.
- The collegium’s composition should be diversified to ensure and secure the presence of judges from all sections of society, including minorities, women, tribes, and backwards. This would serve to mitigate the system’s pervasive nepotism.
- The nomination of elderly judges with shorter tenures risks institutional incoherence and ineffectiveness at the court. Young judges, according to the Law Commission, would provide vibrancy and freshness to constitutional courts.
- A permanent secretariat should be established to keep track of the organization’s business and post meeting minutes in the RTI domain.