The government will bring a proposal to form a judicial appointment commission to appoint judges replacing the old collegium system. Under the new system, the government will have a say in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts. Kapil Sibal-led Law Ministry will soon move a Cabinet note on the issue.
The commission would be a six-member body headed by the Chief Justice of India. The Law Minister, two Supreme Court judges and two eminent jurists nominated by the President will be its members. The government may even add the Leader of Opposition in the panel.
“The collegium system of appointing judges has not worked to the expectations and the government must have a say in such appointments. I don’t think it even worked to the expectations of the judiciary,” Sibal said.
Sibal said the objective of the government and the judiciary is to have the best people as judges who must be chosen with complete transparency and objectivity and there must be broad-based consultations.
Just as judges have enormous stake in the appointment of judicial officers in the higher judiciary in the apex court and the 24 High Courts, the government has an equal stake, he added.
The proposal to replace the present system of collegiums appointing judges will require a constitutional amendment.
However, the government’s move to appoint a commission is likely to face opposition from the Supreme Court judges.
Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir has been a strong votary of the collegium system. He had recently said that appointments to the higher judiciary are made after intense deliberations.
Sibal said they will take judiciary’s views into account while preparing the blueprint of the proposed body.
Under the collegium system, a five-member body consisting CJI and four senior-most judges selects other judges.