SC agrees to examine plea challenging collegium system for appointment of judges

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine a plea challenging the collegium system for the appointment of judges in the apex court and the high courts, and sought reviving the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) for the appointments.

Advocate Mathews J. Nedumpara mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The bench, also comprising Justices Hima Kohli and J.B. Pardiwala, wondered whether a judgment delivered by a constitution bench in 2015 in the NJAC case could be reviewed by a writ petition. However, the top court agreed to list the matter.

Petitioners Nedumpara and others, in the plea contended that collegium system has resulted in the denial of fair opportunity in the selection and appointment of judges to the apex court and various high courts. The petitioners claimed the collegium system has become a synonym for nepotism and favouritism.

“The current scenario where judges appoint themselves and appoint advocates as senior advocates, the bar and bench has become the exclusive province of a few dynasties. The talent elsewhere is not at all recognised,” the plea said.

The plea argued that the apex court and the high courts will not be recognised as a democratic institution unless the talented members of the bar are appointed and that will happen only when there is an open, transparent selection process by inviting applications from all eligible.

The petitioners contended that there can be no change unless the culture of entitlement and privilege is done away with. The plea, seeking appointment of judges by notifying vacancies, sought a declaration to revive the NJAC and the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, declared unconstitutional by a five-judge bench.

20221117-181004

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