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Justice Chelameswar May Attend Collegium Meetings

Justice J. Chelameswar, who had decided to boycott collegium meetings, may, in “public interest”, participate in the deliberations for appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court and the High Court.

“There has been a rethink and for public good and in public interest, justice Chelameswar may now participate in SC collegium meetings to appoint judges… This way his views will get reflected during the collegium meetings and he can’t and shouldn’t continue with boycott, merely on sentimental grounds,” a ‘legal luminary’ was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, a bench led by the Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar on Monday said that the Apex Court collegium has cleared the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of Judges to higher Judiciary. The MoP was sent to the Centre on March 14, and the Central Government is now studying it.

The boycott

Justice Chelameswar had refused to attend the collegium’s meetings, as long as its deliberations were kept under wraps. He was the lone dissenter in the NJAC judgment delivered by the five-Judge Constitution bench in October last year. He not only upheld the NJAC law, passed by Parliament, but found the Collegium system of appointments lacking in transparency and effectiveness. Subsequently, however, he joined the rest in the consequential judgment on the Collegium, delivered in December, because it sought to improve the Collegium system.

The collegium had later agreed to adopt the circulation method for appointing Judges, accepting the suggestion put forth by Justice Chelameswar. The method required the collegium members to record their reasons in writing for approving or rejecting a recommendation. Justice Chelameswar had then begun to participate informally in collegium meetings, considering files after they had been vetted by the other four Judges.

You may read: Justice Chelameswar and Transparency in the judiciary: An Open Letter to CJI by Shailesh Gandhi

You may also read: Transparency in Collegium System: Former SC Judges Laud Justice Chelameswar’s Stand by Vidushi Sahani

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