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Collegium good, but its implementation has gone wrong: Supreme Court

India TV News Desk 17 Jun 2015, 13:08:35 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday for the first time said that two-decade old collegium system has not worked well.

The Supreme Court's observation came during hearing of a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).

The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by justice JS Khehar, said that the National Commission to Review Working of the Constitution headed by Justice M N Venkatachaliah had said when the collegium system was devised by the Supreme Court, it was hailed the world over as a unique and good system.

"So, the (collegium) system is good, but the implementation has gone wrong. That does not mean the system is bad," the bench, which also comprises justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.

The Centre and BJP-ruled states have slammed the collegium's non-transparent and non-accountable manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts.

Senior advocate TR Andhyarujina, appearing for Maharashtra, said that independence of judiciary does not necessarily require that the judges be appointed by the collegium system.

"In no country of the world, judges are appointed by collegium/judiciary. Instead it is done by the executive in consultation with judges", he told the bench.

Besides Maharashtra, the counsel for BJP-ruled states, Rajasthan, Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Gujarat, also advanced arguments in favour of the NJAC and enabling 99th Constitutional amendment.

Last week, the Centre wrapped up its arguments backing the NJAC asserting the collegium system had recommended names that were 'not worthy of acceptance'.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi also submitted a list of bad appointments to the five-judge constitution bench hearing the matter.

In April, the government had notified the NJAC Act, 2014 and the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 for bringing in a change in the existing system for appointment of judges in Supreme Court and high courts.

The acts provide for a transparent and broad-based process of selection of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts by the NJAC.