Hailing the two-decade-old collegium system for appointing Supreme Court judges, former Chief Justice of India H L Dattu today said it was the best procedure in place. “It is the best system of judges appointing judges (of the Supreme Court),” Dattu, Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here.
In the collegium system (which was viewed as controversial for being opaque), the judges know whom they are appointing, he said. Dattu said just as in a media organisation, an editor knows which reporter is the best for the job, same is the case with judicial appointments. Under the collegium system, a body of senior apex court judges headed by the Chief Justice of India selects persons and makes recommendations for appointment of judges.
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The Central government had established the National Judicial Appointments Commission by amending the Constitution after criticising the collegium system, saying it created “an empire within an empire” in the Supreme Court. The Parliament passed NJAC Act and Constitutional Amendment Act in 2014. It came into force from April 2015. However, the Supreme Court upheld the collegium system in October 2015 and said that NJAC was unconstitutional.
Speaking on the alleged police excesses during the recent Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu, Dattu said he was awaiting the report on the same from the Tamil Nadu government. “We have given them four weeks time”, he added. He, however, refused to elaborate on the issue, saying that he cannot say anything without going through the report. NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that police, without any prior caution, resorted to beating, arresting and damaging private property in order to disperse a large number of people gathered at landmark places in Chennai in support of Jallikattu.
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