NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that judges “do not need certificates from anyone” while rejecting a PIL petition seeking the setting up of a public body independent of the executive and the judiciary to ensure fairness in the appointment to the High Courts and the apex court.
“We don’t need a certificate from anyone on earth,” a bench comprising justices Arun K Mishra and U U Lalit said when it was alleged that there had been nepotism in the appointment of judges to the High Courts and the top court.
The bench disagreed with the demand of the National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms that a body independent of the executive and the judiciary was needed to select judges for the higher judiciary saying that the talented among a vast majority of lawyers were never considered by the collegium for selection as judges. It said the setting up of such a body would amount to amending the Constitution which the apex court couldn't do.
“We are dismissing it. We see no merit in this petition. Your ideas may be good or bad; we are not commenting. But what all you are asking cannot be done without quashing certain constitutional provisions,” it said.
When advocates Mathew J Nedumpara and A C Philip, representing the lawyers’ body, referred to the ongoing vetting by the Centre of the memorandum of procedure to govern judges’ appointments, the bench said, “We will not comment on MoP. Can a proposed MoP be questioned? Let it be crystallised. Let it come out then we will see”.
The plea said the appointments of the kith and kin of serving and former judges, senior advocates, chief ministers, governors and a few first-generation lawyers who are all politically connected or are close to big industrial houses as judges in the higher judiciary must stop. It also said there was no effective mechanism to address complaints of misconduct against judges.