SC turned down Govt’s suggestion for setting up committee to assist SC & HC collegium: Kiren Rijiju
The constitution of the proposed committee had to be tasked with the work of screening and evaluating relevant material on the suitability of the prospective candidates and act as a facilitator.
Published: 03rd February 2023 01:30 AM | Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 01:30 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said that although the government had suggested setting up of a Screening cum Evaluation Committee (SEC) at SC and HC levels to assist the SC & HCs Collegiums, the same was shot down by the SC judges.
The constitution of the proposed committee, which SC did not agree had to be tasked with the work of screening and evaluating relevant material on the suitability of the prospective candidates and act as a facilitator.
Responding to a question posed by MP Shri Ram Nath Thakur whether the government is heading towards appointing its representative in the process of appointment of judges and is considering setting up an independent regulator like Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in Rajya Sabha, the minister in the response said, “In its consultations with the Supreme Court Collegium, the government has made suggestions in line with the Supreme Court Order dated in WP(C) 13 of 2015, including the need for a Screening cum Evaluation Committee at the Supreme Court and High Court levels to assist the Collegiums of Supreme Court and High Courts respectively. It was proposed that the Committees may screen and evaluate relevant material on the suitability of the prospective candidates and would act as a facilitator. The decision to make recommendations will continue to be exercised by the respective Collegiums of the Supreme Court and High Courts. However, the Supreme Court did not agree to set up such Committees.”
Clarifying that the government never suggested for inclusion of its nominee in the collegium for the appointment of judges, Law Minister said that the government on January 6, 2023, had however recommended for inclusion of a government nominee in Search-cum-Evaluation Committee in respect of the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts. The Law Minister said that this would pave the way for a more transparent, accountable and expeditious mechanism for the appointment of judges to the Constitutional Courts.
The Law Minister further said that it suggested for inclusion of a representative nominated by the Government of India and a representative of State Government(s) under the jurisdiction of the High Court as nominated by the Chief Minister(s) in the Committee for appointing HC judges.
“It has been proposed that for appointment and transfer of Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts, the names recommended by the Chief Minister can be received by the Search-cum-Evaluation Committee along with the names taken from senior Judges outside the Collegium and eligible candidates taken from the database (Judicial Officers and Advocates) as maintained by the proposed Secretariat. The High Court Collegium may deliberate upon a panel of names drawn up by the Search-cum-Evaluation Committee and recommend the names of the most suitable candidates for appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court, Chief Justices and Judges High Courts. The Collegium at an appropriate level may address the above requirements of drawing up a panel of eligible candidates from aforementioned sources and draw up their proceedings by rendering requisite reasons and thereafter send the proposal to the government with relevant documents,” the reply also said.