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Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:07
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Sarthak edit

The SC collegium making public its resolutions is an important first-step for transparency in the judiciary

 

The Supreme Court collegium’s move to make public its decisions on the appointment of judges is a small but important first-step towards making judicial appointments more transparent. For perspective on how big a step this is, recall how Justice J Chelameswar, one of the members of the collegium, had said it was opaque, as a result of which he had even stopped attending its meetings. Three of the items on the Collegium Resolution page as of Monday pertain to the proposed elevation of 13 judicial officers to the post of judges at the Kerala (3) and Madras (10) high courts. In the case of four of the 10 judicial officers recommended by the chief justice of the Madras High Court and his two senior-most colleagues for elevation—with the concurrence of the chief minister and Governor of Tamil Nadu/Puducherry—the collegium has rejected the appointment of three and deferred the appointment of one. While saying the collegium has consulted “colleagues conversant with the affairs” at the high courts, the reports also explain why some judges have not been found suitable for elevation—adverse intelligence reports, for instance.
To make the process completely transparent, of course, it would be important the earlier recommendations be similarly transparent—so, in the case of the Madras High Court, for instance, why were these judges chosen and their names put in the list before the SC in preference to others? This will require courts down the line to be similarly transparent. And, at each level, including that of the Supreme Court, true transparency will lie in making these reports available to the candidates who are not promoted and in allowing them to challenge the facts of the case.

 

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