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Supreme Court Collegium

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Context:

The Supreme Court Collegium has approved 10 additional judges of the Karnataka High Court and two from the Kerala High Court for appointment as permanent judges of these courts.

 

Significance of the move:

The Collegium is pushing hard to fill vacancies. There is likely to be a steady flow of recommendation of names for filling vacancies in the 25 High Courts, which have over 465 vacancies. This is over 41% of the total sanctioned judicial strength of 1,098 in the High Courts.

 

Who appoints judges to the SC?

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the appointments are made by the President of India.

  • The names are recommended by the Collegium.

 

Eligibility to become a Supreme Court judge:

The norms relating to the eligibility has been envisaged in the Article 124 of the Indian Constitution.

  1. To become a judge of the Supreme court, an individual should be an Indian citizen.
  2. In terms of age, a person should not exceed 65 years of age.
  3. The person should serve as a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years or the person should be an advocate in the High court for at least 10 years or a distinguished jurist.

 

Is the collegium’s recommendation final and binding?

The collegium sends its final recommendation to the President of India for approval. The President can either accept it or reject it. In the case it is rejected, the recommendation comes back to the collegium. If the collegium reiterates its recommendation to the President, then he/she is bound by that recommendation.

 

Common criticism made against the Collegium system:

  • Opaqueness and a lack of transparency.
  • Scope for nepotism.
  • Embroilment in public controversies.
  • Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.

 

Reforms needed:

  1. A transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  2. It should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  3. Instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President to appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.

current affairs

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Collegium System?
  2. How SC judges are appointed and removed?
  3. How HC judges are appointed and removed?
  4. Constitutional provisions in this regard.

Mains Link:

Write a note on National Judicial Appointments Commission.

Sources: the Hindu.