The Chief Justice of India, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on Thursday, agreed to list a plea challenging the present collegium system for appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. The petition, in essence, seeks a new mechanism for judges' appointment.
The matter was mentioned by Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara before a Bench comprising CJI, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice J.B. Pardiwala.
Mr. Nedumpara appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the 2015 judgment which revived the collegium system should be rendered void ab initio. CJI reckoned that the collegium system, which was brought about by judgment of a Constitution Bench of the Apex Court, could be reviewed in a writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Nonetheless, he assured the Counsel that it would be looked at and listed in due course of time.
According to the Petition, the collegium system of appointment of Judges to the higher judiciary, one which is nothing but rewriting of the Constitution, to keep political interference in judicial appointments completely at bay, to appoint the very best and most deserving Judges, has totally failed and it has, instead, meant monopolising the august office of Judges of the higher judiciary by the kith and kin of sitting and former Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, their juniors, celebrated lawyers.
The main prayer of the Petition is to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction, directing the Union of India to bring into existence such legislative or administrative measures for the creation of a non-governmental/non-departmental public body, nay, a Judicial Appointment Commission which will be independent of both the executive and the judiciary to select Judges for the higher judiciary by inviting applications from all eligible candidates, invite references from all stakeholders, the Bar Associations, the public at large, and above all to see that "Judges are not only selected in a fair and open way but are seen by the public to have been chosen in the fairest possible way taking nothing into account other than their merit and character".