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If the collegium system is imperfect then I am also imperfect, says CJI RM Lodha

India TV News Desk 11 Aug 2014, 13:34:53 PM IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi: Expressing anguish over attempts to tarnish the image of collegium system under which judges are appointed, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha today said that if the collegium system is imperfect then all those appointed under this system, including himself, are imperfect.

“I am from the first batch of judges who came in via collegium system and Justice Nariman is the last one to be selected through the system. If the system is imperfect then we are imperfect,” the CJI observed.
"There is a misleading campaign going across to defame the judiciary and repeated attempts have been made to spread incorrect information," a bench headed by the CJI said.

The remarks were made while dismissing a PIL seeking to declare the decision of the collegium to recommend the name of Karnataka High Court judge, Justice KL Manjunath as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court as non-binding.

The PIL filed in the Supreme Court by Ram Shankar had sought that in future all recommendations of the collegium on appointment of judges should be put on the Apex Court website.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench wanted to know from the petitioner as to who informed him about the name recommended by the collegium.

"Who told you that his (Manjunath) name has been recommended for elevation. Because I am the Chief Justice and I head the collegium, I am not sure and I don't know whether there is any other collegium," the CJI said.

The CJI further said that ‘the collegium never recommended the name of Manjunath' and there is some misleading campaign going on.

"If there is a campaign to defame judiciary in the eye of public, you are doing a great damage to democracy. Don't shake people's confidence in judiciary. For God's sake don't try to defame judiciary," the CJI, who was heading a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman, observed.

The CJI said as an institution the collegium had its limitations in selecting persons.

"After all judges too come from the same society. But to carry on a campaign just because of allegations against one or two judges is unfair," he said.

The CJI said he was one of the first products of collegium system and Nariman, who is sitting along with him, is the latest one to be elevated as apex court judge following the collegium system.

"If you say that the system has failed, then its products have also failed. If you say so, we have also failed and everybody has failed," the CJI observed.

"All judges at present are the products of collegium system," the CJI said.

He said the way a concerted campaign is being carried out to bring judiciary to disrepute, a great disservice is being done to the country.
The collegium system came into existence via a Supreme Court verdict in 1993. The system is facing criticism after former Apex Court judge Markandey Katju's sensational revelation that three Chief Justices of India made ‘improper compromises' during UPA rule in retaining a judge in Tamil Nadu under corruption cloud.