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Government to revisit 1993 verdict on collegium system has been questioned by Supreme Court

The government’s demand to revisit the 1993 judgment which had brought out the collegium system has been criticised by the Supreme Court. Collegium System has given Chief Justice of India primacy to appoint other judges of High Courts and higher judiciary. Supreme Court wanted to know from the government that how it will give independence to judiciary in the new commission for appointing the judges. Supreme Court said that it is a very dangerous proposition to take up and thus questioned the government’s stand on reconsidering this.

A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar, in a 5 judge bench, have asked the government, if the government can successfully show that the interpretation given by 9 judge on importance to Chief Justice of India to appoint higher judiciary is wrong. The bench although allowed the government to move ahead with its arguments about collegium system it did not support argument regarding the 9 judge bench judgment. When Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued on this issue of 9 judge bench 1993 judgment then the bench gave this remarks on it.

The validity of National Judicial Appointment Commission Act, 2014 which is being replaced by collegium system of appointing the judges to the higher judiciary has been brought before the bench but the bench wanted to know why AG was contesting the 9 judge judgement which was not the main subject that was brought before the bench. The bench said that there was no challenge on the 9 judge judgement but main issue was independence of judiciary which has to be protected. Bench headed by Justices Kurian Joseph, J Chelameswar, Adarsh Kumar Goel and M B Lokur said that this new system should be shown to be equally independent and ensures independence of judiciary. Judges further asked if the present argument was that the judgment given in 1993 was wrong or what. Bench also said that it will be very dangerous to leave the government to get a review on the verdict for earlier judgment.

AG for this commented by saying that it will be biased if the government is restrained to give its arguments on the earlier judgment that was given on collegium system where CJI had primacy in appointing judges which was wrong.

by Sushma Javare.