Collegium System for Appointment of Judges

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Collegium System for Appointment of Judges

Collegium System for Appointment of Judges

Recently, the Supreme Court has expressed concern over the delay by the government on the recommendations of the Collegium for the appointment of judges.

  • The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the delay on the part of the Central Government to act on the recommendations of the Collegium and appointment of judges to the High Courts (HCs).
  • The court has expressed concern that due to delay in appointment of judges, the functioning of the third pillar of democracy is being adversely affected. As a result of this, eventually the administrative system will also be disrupted.
  • As of August 1, 2021, out of the total sanctioned strength of 1,098 judges in the country’s 25 high courts, 455 posts are vacant.
  • Earlier this year, in PLR Projects Ltd Vs. Mahanadi Coalfields Pvt. Ltd, the Supreme Court for the first time set a judicially mandated time limit for the government to appoint judges in high courts.
  • After the appointments were recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium, the Central Government should have made the appointments as per the recommendations of the Collegium within 3-4 weeks.

Collegium System: Under this system there is a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), four senior SC judges and three judges of one HC (in case of appointments to the respective HC). This committee takes decisions related to the appointment or transfer of judges in SC and HC respectively.

Three Judges Cases

  • P.Gupta Vs. Union of India Case, 1981 (also known as the suit relating to transfer of judges).
  • Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association Vs Union of India Case, 19931
  • A Presidential Reference was issued by the President in the year 1998. This led to the expansion of the collegium.

Collegium System:

Basic Provisions: Under Article 124(2) and Article 217(0) of the Constitution, the judges of the Supreme Court/High Court are appointed by the President after consultation with the CJI. It was not binding on the government to comply with the recommendation of the CJI.

Judicial Acquisition: In the year 1993, the Supreme Court introduced the collegium system, taking precedence in the appointments of judges in SCs and HCs.

Eminence of the CJI: In 1998, a nine-judge Constitution Bench ruled that “consultation” should be effective and the CJI’s opinion should be given priority.

Composition: Under the collegium system, a committee of five senior SC judges selects the names of the judges secretly.

Veto power: The government can return the recommendations of the collegium, but if the recommendations are sent again, the government will be bound to accept them.

Source – The Hindu

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