New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India Justice U U Lalit said on Saturday the collegium system of appointment of judges is a near perfect model which is “fool proof”.
Bahujana Rashtra Samithi (BRS) National President and Advocate High Court MA Mujeeb (Ex IAF) said in a separate statement that the collegium is good provided it is revamped with adequate space and ensures social justice to the OBCs, SCs, STs and Minorities.
Mujeeb asked the collegium to ensure social justice to OBCs, Dalits, Minorities in proportion to their respective population in the higher judiciary,
Speaking at an event organised by ‘Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms’ (CJAR) on “Judicial Appointments and Reforms”, Justice Lalit said a rigorous process is involved in recommending names for judgeship of constitutional courts.
“According to me, we don’t have a system better than the collegium system. If we don’t have anything qualitatively better than the collegium system, naturally, we must work towards making it possible that this collegium system survives. Today the model as per which we work is a near perfect model,” the ex-CJI said.
Justice Lalit, who retired in November 2022, said judiciary is in a better position to adjudicate on the merits of the potential candidates as they have seen their work over the years.
“When the matter reaches the SC collegium, there is a fully perfect situation, whether the name be accepted or not to be accepted. It’s not as if it is a whimsical exercise taken by someone. It’s a fool proof arrangement,” he said.
The collegium system where sitting judges appoint judges to the constitutional courts has become a major bone of contention between the judiciary and the government.
The NJAC Act, which sought to overturn the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and high court judges, was struck down by the top court which termed it as unconstitutional.
A bench of the apex court had recently wondered whether the collegium’s recommendations for appointment of judges were being withheld by the government because the SC struck down the NJAC Act brought in to replace the collegium system.
Advocate MA Mujeeb said wading into the political cum Hindutwa promoting debate over the collegium system, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar recently said by scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to undermine the independence of the executive, the legislature and the Judiciary. NJAC was passed in haste without any discussion, intending to grab the adjudication powers of judiciary and to make it subordinate to the executive which was unwanted in parliamentary system.
The Supreme Court rightly set aside the NJAC as the Parliament disregarded the independent functioning of three crucial organs of the State for the healthy and accountable State, MA Mujeeb a student of Public Admiration pointed out.
Mujeeb demanded apology to the nation by her Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju for their making pro Hindutwa approach. As the Government is biggest litigant, there will be frequent disagreements by the independent judiciary against faulty Governance of any ruling party in power.
Mujeeb said the Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju without viewing balance of power between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary has often unnecessarily criticized the collegium system, alleging opaqueness and calling it “alien to the Constitution” Mujeeb questioned.