NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Centre that the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary was a serious business and couldn’t be left to trial-and-error method or God’s mercy.
Making his submissions, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued that the National Judicial Appointments Council (NJAC) should be given a chance before being subjected to any critical evaluation. He said, “God knows what would eventually emerge from it.”
The court said: “We can’t leave it to God and it is not hit-and-trial business.” Then Rohatgi said: “If there could be hit-and-trial for democracy, secularism and federalism, then why not for the judiciary? Hit and trial is a part of democracy.”
Attacking the collegium system as “something happening in a closed room away from sunlight”, he sought to know if the system’s failure prevented Parliament from putting in place a “broad-based, transparent” NJAC.
The court asked the Centre to bring on record the names of the people recommended for appointment to higher judiciary by the government but were not accepted by the collegium.
“Show us one incident, where there was good material. You projected that material and sent it to the collegium and it was returned,” it said.
“Very few”, Rohatgi replied and narrated an incident where a person was appointed a judge despite serious objections raised by the Government and the President.