KOCHI: Taking a jibe at the collegium system being followed for the appointment of judges, former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju said the apex court had violated the concept of judicial restraint with the judgement striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC).
The collegium system is a panel of five senior-most Supreme Court judges, including the Chief Justice, which decides the appointment and transfer of judges.
“I would like to call it (collegium) ‘Panch Pandavas’ who ignore the suggestions of everyone else. In a democratic society, everything should be transparent. The public should know what is happening around them. There is no point in sitting like conspirators and appointing ‘favourites’. It was proved many a time that the system is flawed. In that, the common principle is: ‘you accept my man, and I accept your man,” said Katju while delivering a lecture on the ‘National Judicial Appointment Commission’ at Bharat Tourist Home here on Tuesday. The talk was organised by the All-India Lawyers Union.
‘First class Persons Needed’
Citing the example of the system being followed in the U.K. for appointment of judges, Katju said, “it does not matter whether it is the NJAC or the collegium, what is needed is first class people. In the UK, judges are appointed by the Queen on the basis of the recommendations of the Lord Chancellor. When someone asked the Lord Chancellor once as to what would happen if his selection goes wrong, he answered that he would not be able to face his colleagues if his decision goes wrong,” said Katju. “What makes him accountable is the pressure of social boycotting. But, it is not happening here. What we need is first class persons to man bodies like the NJAC and collegium,” he said. Katju called on organisations related to law to persuade the SC to televise the collegium proceedings.