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Sitting SC Justice takes Supreme Court head on, questions Collegium’s way of Judges appointment

September,2,2016:

Justice J Chelameswar was the only Judge who gave a dissenting Judgment in NJAC Constitutional Bench verdict.

Justice J Chelameswar, figuring the things out
Justice J Chelameswar, figuring the things out

A senior sitting Judge of the Supreme Court Justice J Chelameswar has for the first time in its history, has come out in the open and has questioned SC Collegium’s decision-making process.

He is particularly unhappy over the lack of transparency in the appointment as well as transfer of judges.

This unprecedented development would definitely cause a nationwide debate on the state of affairs of our justice delivery system.

It is reported by New Indian Express that Justice J Chelameswar has shot off a three-page long letter to the CJI, Justice T S Thakur, apprising him of his unwillingness to attend meetings of the Supreme Court Collegium anymore.

Justice J Chelameswar also skipped the Collegium meeting scheduled yesterday even though it was attended by the remaining four Collegium judges, including the CJI.

This meeting had on its agenda the revised Memorandum of Procedure, MoP for appointment of judges.  But it had to be deferred in the light of Justice Chelameswar’s letter.

It is pertinent to mention here that in October last year, when a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, Justice Chelameswar was the lone dissenting Judge.

Justice Chelameswar wrote in his verdict that Transparency is a vital factor in constitutional governance and it is an aspect of rationality. Transparency is needed more in the case of the appointment process but the proceedings of the SC Collegium were absolutely opaque and inaccessible both to general public.

Things have now bolied to such a pass that Justice Chelameswar reportedly shared the opaqueness of the system with other members of the Collegium itself.

Even though Justice Kurien, who was also on the constitutional bench that struck down the NJAC Act, had favoured the majority view but still he admitted in his judgment that the present system  of Collegium lacks transparency, accountability and objectivity.

Justice Kurien had favoured that the Collegium system needs to be improved considerably and it seems the moment has finally arrived.

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