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CJAR And Lawyers Collective Applaud Collegium Decision To Place Resolutions In Public Domain

Apoorva Mandhani
7 Oct 2017 9:36 AM GMT
CJAR And Lawyers Collective Applaud Collegium Decision To Place Resolutions In Public Domain
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In an official release, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has welcomed the Collegium’s decision to place its resolutions in the public domain.

Applauding the step, the release states, “This is a first but necessary step towards both objectives and will go some distance in restoring the public’s confidence in the system, cutting at the roots of nepotistic and arbitrary judicial appointments.”

It, however, suggests that the names of proposed appointees be placed on the website as well, in order to permit the people to provide information on such candidates. It explains, “This will ensure appointment of only those candidates that are meritorious and of impeccable integrity. CJAR applauds this first step in building in a system of accountability and transparency in appointments to the higher Judiciary.”

Lawyers Collective has also hailed the decision, terming it as a “landmark step towards creating accountability of the Judiciary”.

“The decision to make the process of selection available in the public domain has been a long-standing demand and now with this positive decision we hope to achieve a more transparent process of appointment and transfer in the future,” its release states.

It, however, urges the Collegium to make the decision applicable from the date the Chief Justice took charge, so that it covers the term of the present Collegium. This, it said, would ensure disclosure of the reasons for Justice Jayant Patel’s “untimely and unexpected” resignation.

The release further explains, “We also express our concern that neither a Judge in the Supreme Court represents the state of Gujarat since the retirement of Justice Anil Dave, nor does Gujarat have a Chief Justice in any other High Court. This makes the resignation of Justice Patel a matter of grave concern leading to unnecessary speculation that the reason for his resignation was that he was overlooked for being elevated as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court or any other High Court. True and genuine transparency would require that the reasons for his non-elevation be made known to the public.”

Text Of CJAR Statement

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), welcomes the Resolution of the Supreme Court Collegium dated 03.10.2017, regarding “Transparency in Collegium system”. The resolution mandates uploading of Collegium's resolutions on the Supreme Court's websites. CJAR is pleased to note the positive approach of the Collegium in placing the resolutions with reasons for elevation and transfers of judges to and between the High Courts, and appointment of judges to the Supreme Court. It has been our consistent stand that the Collegium's functioning needs to become more transparent and accountable to the public at large. This is a first but necessary step towards both objectives and will go some distance in restoring the public's confidence in the system, cutting at the roots of nepotistic and arbitrary judicial appointments. While the collegium system was created to ensure independence of the judiciary under the Constitution, absence of transparency and accountability can defeat this purpose. For a robust and transparent appointment system, there is a need to go beyond this by putting out the names of proposed appointees on the Supreme Court website, to allow an opportunity for the people to provide relevant information on the proposed appointees. This will ensure appointment of only those candidates that are meritorious and of impeccable integrity. CJAR applauds this first step in building in a system of accountability and transparency in appointments to the higher Judiciary.

 Lawyers Collective’s Press Release

6th October 2017, New Delhi

Lawyers Collective welcomes the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court’s Collegium to upload any forthcoming resolution, on elevation of candidates and transfer of Judges to the higher judiciary, with reasons on their website. The decision that read as below,

“Decision on uploading of collegium’s resolutions with reasons, on each candidate for elevation as Judge of High Court, Chief Justice of High Court or as Judge of Supreme Court or transfer on the Supreme Court’s official website for ensuring transparency of collegium system”

further stated,

“The resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the collegium system”

was signed by all the five members of the Collegium - Chief Justice Misra, Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The move in the spirit of transparency is a landmark step towards creating accountability of the Judiciary.

Lawyers Collective has strongly stood against the arbitrariness and the opaque nature of the Collegium system. The Supreme Court of India is the flag bearer to upholding principles of equality enshrined in the Constitution of India. There has been discontent amongst members of the bar as well as the general public regarding the appointment and transfer of Judges with respect to diversity and qualification of the selected candidates. The decision to make the process of selection available in the public domain has been a long-standing demand and now with this positive decision we hope to achieve a more transparent process of appointment and transfer in the future.

However, we urge the Collegium to make the decision applicable from the date the Chief Justice took charge so that it covers the period of the present collegium and not from the date of the resolution that is 6th October 2017. This decision would ensure that we are given the reason for the untimely and unexpected resignation of Justice Jayant Patel of the Gujarat High Court, who was due to be elevated as a Chief Justice, a year back. We also express our concern that neither a Judge in the Supreme Court represents the state of Gujarat since the retirement of Justice Anil Dave, nor does Gujarat have a Chief Justice in any other High Court. This makes the resignation of Justice Patel a matter of grave concern leading to unnecessary speculation that the reason for his resignation was that he was overlooked for being elevated as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court or any other High Court. True and genuine transparency would require that the reasons for his non-elevation be made known to the public.

 Lawyers Collective

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