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The Court and the problem with its collegium

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Judiciary- Structure, functioning and conduct of business, issues with the collegium system


Directions: There have been many articles on collegium system (including yesterday). We are including only unique points from this article.

Source: The Hindu

Issues with the Collegium system:

  • Extra-constitutional or non-constitutional body: brought in force by judgments of the Supreme Court.
  • No seat for Non-Judge: There is no seat in the collegium for any non-judge neither from the executive, the Bar etc. This violates the principle of checks and balances.
  • Opaqueness: lack of transparency as meetings are held a closed door.
  • Nepotism: Scope for nepotism.
  • Overlooks talent: Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.


Issues with judicial appointments:

  • ‘Biased’ Collegium: Successive collegiums not putting forth names disliked by the Government.
  • No one from ‘distinguished’ Jurist: There have been no appointments from the category of distinguished jurists (under Article 124)
  • Preserve of judges: Appointments to the top court seem to be the preserve of judges from the High Courts with a handful of appointments from the Bar.


Way forward:

  • Transparency: There is a need to revisit this and secure a better, broad-based and transparent method of appointing senior judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  • Constitutional mandates: Some nodding acknowledgement should be given to a specific provision made by the founding fathers in the Constitution.


Insta Links:

Collegium system

The principle of seniority and next CJI(FFP)


Mains Links:

Q. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India.(UPSC 2017)


Prelims Links:

  • Collegium system
  • NJAC
  • CJI
  • Article 124
  • Memorandum of Procedure of 1999

Consider the following statements:

  1. The SC collegium is headed by the CJI and comprises four other senior most judges of the court.
  2. A HC collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other senior most judges of that court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: :(a)


Collegium System:

  • It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the SC, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
  • The SC collegium is headed by the CJI and comprises four other senior-most judges of the court.
  • An HC collegium is led by its Chief Justice and two other senior-most judges of that court.