Supreme Court dismisses plea for new body to replace collegium

The bench disagreed with the plea of National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms that a body independent of executive and judiciary to select judges is needed.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 21, 2016 4:12 am
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THE SUPREME Court Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking a body other than the collegium to appoint judges in the higher judiciary and observed that the judges do not need certificates from anyone regarding the manner of selecting judges.

“We don’t need a certificate from anyone on earth,” observed a bench of Justices Arun K Mishra and Uday U Lalit as the petitioner’s advocate, Mathew J Nedumpara, contended that there has been nepotism in the appointment of judges in high courts and in the apex court.

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The bench disagreed with the plea of National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms that a body independent of executive and judiciary to select judges is needed, especially because those talented amongst a vast majority of lawyers were never considered by the collegium for selection.

“We are dismissing it (PIL)…we see no merit in this petition. Your ideas may be good or bad but we are not commenting on it. But what you are asking cannot be done without quashing certain constitutional provisions,” said the bench.

Advocates Nedumpara and A C Philip, appearing for the lawyers’ body, also referred to the ongoing vetting by the Centre of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) to govern judges’ appointments.

But the bench retorted: “We will not comment on the MoP. Can a proposed MoP be questioned? Let it be crystallised. Let it come out …then we will see.”

It reiterated that setting up of such a body would amount to amending the Constitution, which cannot be done by the apex court. The lawyers’ body has contended that an independent judge selection body was needed to end the alleged control of the “elite section” over judiciary.

The selection of kith and kin of serving and former judges and senior advocates as judges in higher judiciary should and must stop, the lawyers’ body said in its plea. The PIL alleged that the deserving lawyers are usually not considered for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary and only those close to the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts or politicians or big industrial houses get selected.