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Scrutiny of performance: Centre begins evaluation of judges for HC

The step is seen as an attempt by the government to do its due diligence even as the executive and judiciary remain engaged in their battle of turf over judicial appointments.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Updated: September 11, 2017 8:27 am
hc judge evaluation, High Court collegium, hc judges, judges evaluation, delhi high court, hc judge performance, pk sinha, judges appointment, indian express, india news, legal news, The final decision on the appointments is taken by the Supreme Court collegium and the inputs provided by the government, including the result of the evaluation, will assist in the process.

The Centre has “initiated” a “process” to “evaluate” the performance of those recommended by the High Court collegium for appointment as judges of the court. This was conveyed in a note sent by the Department of Justice to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha.

“Now the process of detailed scrutiny of proposals received for appointment of judges from High Court has been initiated,” said the note dated August 9, adding, “in the case of advocates, their reported judgements and in case of judicial officers, their case disposal time and number of adjournments are being evaluated by an in house team having legal background”.

The step is seen as an attempt by the government to do its due diligence even as the executive and judiciary remain engaged in their battle of turf over judicial appointments. “This is an internal effort by the government towards greater appraisal and scrutiny for better candidates in light of the Supreme Court’s own observations in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) matter and Justice C S Karnan case,” a government source said about the initiative.

The final decision on the appointments is taken by the Supreme Court collegium and the inputs provided by the government, including the result of the evaluation, will assist in the process.

Though the current mechanism for appointment of judges of the higher judiciary follows the collegium system, instances of alleged corruption and irregularities have brought the system under the scanner.

The BJP-led NDA government had made clear its intention to change this and in December 2014, the government had replaced the collegium system of appointments with the NJAC. But the Supreme Court struck this down in October 2015, noting that the political-executive cannot be given any hand in the judges’ appointment process.

That left the government with the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), which is prepared in consultation with the President and Chief Justice of India, in consonance with the directions of the apex court in the 1993 Second Judges case, wherein a nine-judge Constitution bench devised the collegium system of appointments.

Later, in December 2015, the Supreme Court allowed the government to “finalize the existing Memorandum of Procedure by supplementing it in consultation with the Chief Justice of India”. However, plans to revise the MoP have been caught in a logjam, with the Supreme Court objecting to some of the recommendations in the draft.

The government’s efforts to change the judicial appointments mechanism got a boost again recently after the July 4, 2017, verdict of the Supreme Court, wherein two judges of the seven-judge bench which convicted and sentenced Justice Karnan for contempt said in their judgement that the case “highlighted the need to revisit the process of selection and appointment of judges”.

The August 9 note also referred to this view of the two judges and added that it brought out “the system’s failure of not providing an appropriate procedure of making assessment of the personality of the recommendees”.

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  1. Babubhai Vaghela
    Sep 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm
    Where is Transparency with No Pro-Active Discloure as Mandated under the RTI Act 2005?
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    1. Chandran Peechulli
      Sep 11, 2017 at 9:50 pm
      ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL, DO NOT FUNCTION AS PER THE INDIAN CONS UTIONAL NEEDS : livelaw /law-clerks-vacancy-national-green-tr…/Bearing in mind that all Politicians( all of not one class, favour Ex-Defence Officers w/o. Law Qlfn., to be placed in par, with retired HC Judges, and they act with “Ego and Arrogance” (While with Ego and Arro gance, Justice can never be delivered) since their mindset ‘s are to whims and fancies. It’s shame to the Judiciary and to the Nation. A true CaseStudyRef:M.A.148 149/2017in Armed Forces Tribunal, Chennai Regional Bench. While, Indian intellectuals, are thoughtfully shining, in their relevant field of discipline in INDIA and Overseas. MY LEAVE TO APPEAL, CITIZEN'S RIGHT TO BE HEARD IN HIGHER COURT i.e. IN THE SUPREME COURT, which is already dragged mercilessly, to my old age of seventy years ( SENIOR CITIZEN). IN A.F.T. CHENNAI REGION. ..unworthy harassment and humiliation while seriously sick after acute heart attack .......
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      1. Namitanshu Vatsa
        Sep 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm
        '--the government had replaced the collegium system of appointments with the NJAC.----' What is said in this article is above is not true. NJAC was set up as per the process of Cons utional amendment. Simply saying like what is said above is misleading .
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        1. J
          John Dsouza
          Sep 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm
          R.S. Pasad is working overtime to get this formula carried out, be aware of the present governments evil design.
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          1. K
            kg
            Sep 11, 2017 at 1:19 pm
            You know what it takes to be a SC judge in India? A law degree (even an online one will do) (millions have that), 10 years of "practice" in High court (thousands have that), AND being in the good books of judges (well, that's the main thing).You think it is a fair system in a democracy, where billions of people have NO SAY directly or indirectly, in appointment of such powerful people who can their lives?At least MPs are ELECTED, good or bad, at least a majority of people have chosen them, and people can replace them, but judges, you can't replace, question or change.Judicial appointment system needs a change in India, don't know what system will be more democratic and better, but the present one is not right.
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