Published: 04th September 2021
What The FAQ: What is the Supreme Court Collegium and how does it actually work
In today's FAQ, we write about the Supreme Court Collegium, how it was formed and when did the system evolve and what are its limitations in the system
With a view to fill the large number of judicial vacancies in high courts across the country, the supreme court collegium recommended 68 names including 10 women for the elevation to the courts. This is the first time in the history of the Indian judiciary that the collegium has cleared so many names for the appointment of judges.The three-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, met on August 25 and September 1 and picked the names from a list of 112 people. Therefore, in today's FAQ, we dig more information about the Supreme Court Collegium and what does the constitution actually say.
What is the Supreme Court Collegium and how does it actually work?
The Supreme Court Collegium consists of the five most senior judges including the Chief Justice of India. These five judges will consider promoting the chief justices and judges of the high court to the Supreme Court. If any of these five judges have a difference of opinion, the view and opinion of the majority of the judges will be considered. As the Constitution of India mandates the appointment of judges with the consultation of Chief Justice of India for appointments to judiciary, the collegium model has been formed.
What does the Constitution actually say?
Article 124 states the appointment of Supreme Court judges should be made by the President after consultation with such judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court as the President may deem necessary. Article 217 deals with the appointment of High Court judges. It says a judge should be appointed by the President after consultation with the CJI and the Governor of the state. The Chief Justice of the High Court concerned too should be consulted.
How and when did the collegium system evolve?
The collegium system has its origin in a series of three judgments that is now joined together as the Three Judges Cases. The S P Gupta case in December 30, 1981 is called the First Judges Case. It declared that the primacy of the CJI’s recommendation to the President can be refused for logical reasons. This brought a paradigm shift in favour of the executive having primacy over the judiciary in judicial appointments for the next 12 years.
What are the arguments against the collegium system?
- There is no informal and transparent system as it is a closed door affair
- Several talented junior judges and advocates might lose a chance as the collegium's field of choice is limited to the senior most judges from the High Court for appointments to the Supreme Court