In a letter to Chief Justices of various High Courts, Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu has directed them to follow the earlier practice of appointment of Judges, wherein three senior most Judges, including the Chief Justice of the High Court have a final say while making recommendations.
The practice had been withdrawn citing the “difficulties” faced by the High Courts.
This directive withdraws the change that had been brought about by CJI Dattu’s predecessor, Justice R.M. Lodha, who had advocated for wider consultation in the entire process. Justice Lodha had reasoned, “I don’t think any other suitable system is there. Collegium is statutory. However, to have a better and suitable candidate for the judiciary, a wide consultation with the senior lawyers with impeccable character would definitely help. Because they see the conduct of a lawyer outside the court.”
In a letter written to all High Courts earlier in May, Justice Lodha had urged them to consult two Judges outside the collegium, before making any recommendations for elevation. He had also asked them to consult two senior lawyers for this purpose.
In another interview, he had stated, “There should be wider and more extensive consultation with colleagues, members of the bar, etc. The appointment mechanism has to be streamlined. I’m of the view that the collegium system is still the best if there is better scrutiny of candidates and more transparency is introduced.”
Read the entire interview here.