Judge re­fuses to at­tend SC col­legium meet

COL­LEGIUM SYS­TEM AND THE OB­JEC­TION

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Bhadra Sinha

NEW DELHI: Fre­shap­point­mentsof judges in the Supreme Court and trans­fer of high court judges are likely to get stalled af­ter a se­nior judge re­fused to take part in the meet­ings of top court’s col­legiums, cit­ing lack of trans­parency in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

This is the first time in the his­tory of the In­dian ju­di­ciary that a se­nior judge of the Supreme Court has de­cided to keep away from col­legium meet­ings, ques­tion­ing the opac­ity in ap­point­ment and trans­fer of judges.

In a three-page let­ter to Chief Jus­tice of In­dia TS Thakur on Thurs­day, Jus­tice J Che­lameswar ex­pressed his un­will­ing­ness to at­tend the meet­ings as no record of the dis­cus­sion be­tween the top five judges in col­legium was main­tained. The judge is un­der­stood to have said he saw no pur­pose in at­tend­ing the meet­ing and sug- gested the col­legium’s agenda should be cir­cu­lated to mem­bers.

Sources said the CJI had called Jus­tice Che­lameswar with a re­quest to take his let­ter back but the judge did not re­lent. He is said to have per­son­ally com­mu­ni­cated to the CJI his grouse against the col­legium sys­tem.

Sources privy to the devel­op­ment said Jus­tice Che­lameswar has urged the CJI to make the process of ap­point­ing judges trans­par­ent. Rea­sons for re­ject­ing or rec­om­mend­ing a can­di­date should be recorded, he is said to have writ­ten to the CJI. Jus­tice Che­lameswar had protested against some of the trans­fers of HC judges, they said.

He was the lone dis­sent­ing judge in the five-judge con­sti­tu­tion bench that in Oc­to­ber last struck down the Na­tional Ju­di­cial Ap­point­ments Com­mis­sion (NJAC), which gave some say to the ex­ec­u­tive in judges’ ap­point­ment.

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