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Government unlikely to suggest bringing judges appointment under RTI

New Delhi: The government is unlikely to suggest bringing under the ambit of RTI the process of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts amid feeling that it would not be
PTI January 11, 2016 18:05 IST
PTI

New Delhi: The government is unlikely to suggest bringing under the ambit of RTI the process of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts amid feeling that it would not be a practical idea.

There is feeling within the government, sources said, that bringing the process of appointment and elevation of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts under the transparency law would not be practical as the collegium will be flooded by RTI applications from candidates and other "interested parties" seeking details of files notings and other details.

But at the same time, amid calls to make the system of appointment of members to the higher judiciary more transparent, government is likely to include a clause that any dissent note to a recommendation of the collegium to appoint or elevate a judge should be mandatorily shared with the Executive.

When the Supreme Court was hearing ways to improve the collegium system, government had pressed for bringing the system of appointment under the ambit of RTI to usher in greater transparency.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and members of the collegium will take a final call on the draft memorandum of procedure which the government will hand over to the CJI in the coming days.

The MoP is a roadmap on how a judge will be appointed.

As of now, there are two MoPs -- one dealing with appointment of Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court and the other dealing with appointment of chief justices and other judges of high courts.

The draft MoP for appointment of members to the higher judiciary is being prepared after the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act on appointment of judges to the apex court and high courts.

While deciding on ways to improve the collegium system, the Supreme Court had recently left it to the law ministry to draft the MoP in consultation with CMs and chief justices of the 24 high courts.

The four issues highlighted by the draft MoP are transparency in the appointment process, eligibility criteria, a permanent secretariat for the collegium and a process to evaluate and deal with complaints against candidates.

Government and judiciary are learnt to be on the same page on the issue of creating a permanent secretariat.