The report submitted by senior lawyer Arvind Datar and ASG Pinky Anand compiling more than 60 suggestions papers submitted by legal luminaries towards improving collegium system said whenever a complaint against candidate for judgeship is found prima-facie correct, it should be referred to the executive for investigation
It said there is a strong need to make an outright rejection of anonymous and frivolous complaints.
“Only complaint supported with material evidence should be considered. Where the complaints are prima-facie correct, they should be referred to the Executive for investigation”, it said.
Regarding making complaints, the report said the names of candidates of judgeship should be disclosed to the public 30 days before consideration by the collegium /High Courts/Supreme Court.
Within this period, the public can write to the Secretariat/Appraisal Committee about their complaints and grievances against individual recommended members. Similarly, in the case of names proposed for elevation to the Supreme Court, complaint should be permitted within a 30 day period to the Secretariat/Appraisal Committee.
When complaints are made, the person concerned should be given an opportunity to give an explanation.
The examination of the complaint should be done by panel of retired judges. The complainant should be allowed to give oral/documentary evidence and the candidates should be given an opportunity to rebut the allegations.
Any person who has a specific information/complaint /evidence against the shortlisted candidates should intimate the same to the proposed collegiums secretariat.
The secretariat can make an independent investigation into the information so received. Such information/ evidence can be taken into account in preparing a further shortlist of the candidates. Entire information as regards the complaint should be placed before the collegium by the secretariat.
The report said Chief Justices M.N. Venkatachaliah and J.S. Verma had suggested a “National Oversight Committee” for receiving complaints against all judges of Supreme Court/High Court including the Chief Justice of India. This Committee would have scrutiny panels and Investigation Committee/Panels to assess complaints and frame definite charges.
Read the report filed by Ms. Pinky Anand, ASG and Arvind P. Datar, Senior Advocate on suggestions for improving the Collegium.