For the first time ever, the Supreme Court Collegium led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has recommended as many as 9 persons at one go to be appointed as Supreme Court judges.
- Currently, the Supreme Court of India comprises the CJI and 33 other Judges (totally 34).
- The Constitution mandated consultation by President with the CJI for appointments and transfers of judges.
Article 124 – Appointment of SC judges should be made by the President after consultation with such judges of the HCs and the SC as the President may deem necessary (optional). The CJI is to be consulted (mandatory) in all appointments, except his or her own.
Article 217 – HC judges should be appointed by the President after consultation with the CJI and the Governor of the state. The Chief Justice of the HC concerned too should be consulted.
- The collegium is an evolved model in this “consultation” process, brought in after various Supreme Court judgements in three ‘Judges Cases’.
- The collegium consists of the CJI who heads it and 4 senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
- In case of difference of opinion, the majority view will prevail.
Parameters to be considered
- India is perhaps the only country where the judges themselves select judges to the higher judiciary.
- So, members of the Collegium have to take extra care to ensure that –
- the process of selection remains transparent
- the suitability of the persons selected gets the highest level of approbation (approval/acceptance)
- The essence of the norms to be followed in judicial appointments is a judicious blend of –
- Merit /the ability to deliver complete justice
- Equal opportunities to all classes of people to preserve the interests of the marginalised and deprived sections of society, women, religions, regions and communities
Article 142 (1) allows the Supreme Court to pass any order necessary to do “complete justice” in any case.