Two days before the SC is set to continue the hearing on improving the collegium system of appointment of judges, the Bar Council of India today submitted its suggestions to the Supreme Court and said the executive cannot be completely kept away from the judge selection process.
The resolution passed by the BCI under the Chairmanship of Manan Kumar Mishra after wide consultations with all state bar council and High Court Bar Associations said there should be an advisory committee in order to aid and advise the Supreme Court collegiums in matters of appointment of the judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court. The suggestion will be taken up for discussion on Wednesday and Thursday by the Supreme court constitution bench headed by justice J S Khehar
“Final decisions regarding appointment shall be taken by the SC collegiums only after discussion and deliberation with the advisory committee. However the decision of the supreme court collegiums shall be final”, said the resolution.
“The Bar Council of India feels that the dignity and decorum of the institution and our judiciary is of utmost importance, Under our suggestions or proposal (attached) all stake holders like the union government, state government and the Bar are being involved and there appears to be no ambiguity in the process and sufficient transparency is also achieved”, the resolution said.
It said for the purpose of appointment of Supreme Court judges, the union law minister or Attorney General or Solicitor General of any other nominee of the union government should be part of the advisory committee
It said the chairman of Bar Council of India or his nominee having more than 25 years of practice and president of Supreme Court Bar Association or his nominee should also be part of the panel
It also said one eminent person with legal judicial or strong academic background who is to be nominated in the joint meeting of the Supreme Court collegiums should also be in the advisory committee.
It said the advisory panel for appointment for High Court judges should have the state advocate general as a member
The Supreme Court had on November 5 begun attempts to improve the collegium system, where judges themselves appointed judges and is often criticized for being shrouded in secrecy and over-confidentiality, by considering suggestions forwarded by several legal luminaries, former judges and the government.
The constitution bench headed by justice Jagdish Singh Khehar took up for hearing a 20 page report filed by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and senior advocate Arvind P Datar who had collated and tabulated more than 60 representations from various associations and individuals.
After several lawyers representing bar bodies across the country protested that their suggestions were not included, Justice Khehar said it intended to allow more suggestions and a “wider debate”. Bar Council of India also had also told the court that it would also like to give detailed suggestions after consulting state bar associations and sought some time for it.
“Tentatively we will like to have a debate. Bar Council of India is a very very important body they have a bearing on such issues …they want to make some submissions ..we feel it will be a good idea.
Read the full text of Suggestions here.