SC judicial picks’ details go online

Over 24 years after a seven-Judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Second Judges’ Case directed that a collegiums of judges would make recommendations to the President with regard to appointment and transfer of members of the superior judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium finally decided to put in public domain collegium recommendations sent by it to the government.

The move comes within days of senior Karnataka High Court Judge Jayant Patel putting in his papers after being transferred to Allahabad High Court led to an uproar, with many questioning the collegium’s decision.

As per the latest decision of the collegium led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, collegiums’ decisions will be uploaded online. The other signatories to the October 3 decision Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

“The decisions henceforth taken by the Collegium indicating the reasons shall be put on the website of the Supreme Court, when the recommendation(s) is/are sent to the Government of India, with regard to the cases relating to initial elevation to the HC Bench, confirmation as permanent judge(s) of the HC and elevation to the post of Chief Justice of HC,” the note said.

“Transfer of High Court Chief Justices / Judges and elevation to the Supreme Court, because on each occasion the material which is considered by the Collegium is different,” the note said.

A separate tab on the Supreme Court’s website — dedicated to news from the collegium will also have reasons that influenced their decisions. To begin with, the apex court uploaded documents citing reasons for the recent posting and transfer of judicial officers at the Kerela High Court and Madras High Court.

The collegium— comprising the top five senior most judges of the top court, has often been criticised for its closed door decisions and the opaqueness behind its decision. Justice J Chelameswar, who was part of the Constitution Bench that struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, was the sole dissenter and wrote a strongly-worded judgment criticising the collegium system for its opacity. Standing by his point, Justice Chelameswar refused to participate in the collegium meetings unless minutes of the meeting were recorded.

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