Judge refuses to attend SC collegium meet
COLLEGIUM SYSTEM AND THE OBJECTION
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.