Collegium’s picks not open to judicial review, says SC on Gowri case
A judge is ‘judged’ everyday by lawyers, litigants and the public, as the courts are an open forum, but the collegium’s recommendations can’t be quashed, the SC added.
Published: 11th February 2023 08:18 AM | Last Updated: 11th February 2023 08:18 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The Collegium’s decisions are final and the Supreme Court can’t call upon it to reconsider its recommendations on appointment of judges while exercising the power of judicial review, the top court said on Friday.
A judge is ‘judged’ everyday by lawyers, litigants and the public, as the courts are an open forum, but the collegium’s recommendations can’t be quashed, the SC added. “To do so would violate the law... as it would amount to evaluating and substituting the decision of the Collegium, with individual or personal opinion on the suitability and merits of the person,” the SC said as it gave the reasons for dismissing the pleas challenging the appointment of advocate Victoria Gowri as additional judge of the Madras High Court.
Rejecting the argument that facts related to Gowri were not considered by the collegium, a bench of judges Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai said, “We have made the said observations as these are aspects which are established and are taken into consideration by the collegiums, both of the high court and the Supreme Court.”
It also noted that having “a political background” cannot be an absolute bar for appointing an otherwise suitable person. Elaborating how the collegium makes recommendations, the bench said: “After the collegium of the high court makes a recommendation, inputs are received from the intelligence agencies and comments from the government are considered by the Collegium...
Opinion and comments of the judges in this court conversant with the affairs of the high court concerned are called for... A number of shoot down and dismissive letters and communications from all quarters are received. Only thereafter, and on consideration, the collegium takes a final call.”
Political background no bar: SC
A number of persons with political backgrounds have been elevated as HC and SC judges, the bench said