NEW DELHI: Coming out with a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system of appointment of judges, the Supreme Court today said views of the Centre and States should be taken into account and asked the government to prepare a memorandum of procedure (MOP) in consultation with the Chief Justice of India to enable transparency.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar asked the Centre to take into consideration suggestions on issues of eligibility, transparency, setting up Secretariat for appointment of judges, redressal of complaints and other issues in the MOP on appointment of judges. The bench said the MOP on appointment of judges in higher judiciary should be finalised with consultation of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), who will take decision in consultation with complete unanimity of the collegium consisting of four puny (senior) judges.
While dealing with the eligibility criteria, the judges of high courts and Supreme Court, the bench also comprising justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel, said the MOP should take note of describing minimum age which will act as guidance of the collegium and the views of state governments and the Centre should also be taken into account.
Emphasising that transparency is the most important aspect in selection and appointment of judges, the bench said it should be reflected in the proceedings for the appointment and every aspect related to it should be on the website of the Ministry of Law and Justice and the concerned high court and Supreme Court. The bench said the minutes of discussion and consultations should be recorded including that of dissent if any but the transparency has to be balanced with the requirement of confidentiality.
The MOP should also consider establishing Secretariat for each High Court and the Supreme Court in interest of better management & function of collegium for judges' appointment, the bench said. It also said the MOP should contain appropriate complaint mechanism.
While concluding the order, the bench said these guidelines are broad suggestions in view of the submissions made before it. The court passed the order after noting the submission of AG Mukul Rohatgi that the Centre will finalise the MOP in consultation with the CJI.