No panel to address complaints against judges, clarifies govt. [Judiciary]
- Belying speculations that Centre has proposed a secretariat of retired judges to deal with complaints against sitting judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the government has said consideration of complaints against sitting judges will continue to be a strictly in-house process within the judiciary.
- The government returned a draft of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) to the Collegium for its consideration on August 3 as part of the consultative process underway to finalise ways to make the collegium system of judicial appointments accountable and transparent.
- In December, 2015, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had tasked the government to draft the MoP, while suggesting that a separate secretariat should be formed to vet the names which come up for elevation as judges.
- Collegium had taken offence to govt’s proposal that merit be overriding concern and not seniority, as is the norm, of judges during appointments and elevation. The collegium has said both merit and seniority should be balanced.
- The government also wants the authority to reject a judicial candidate for national security reasons despite the collegium’s recommendations.
- Finally, the government wants the Attorney-General of India and Advocates General of States to have a role in appointment of SC and HC judges, respectively.
- Presently, government is bound to comply if Supreme Court Collegium chooses to override its disapproval of a person recommended for judicial appointment. If the government returns the candidate’s file to the collegium, and the latter reiterates its recommendation, the government has no choice but to comply.
- MoP for appointment of judges to SC and HC has “always been prepared” by Executive in consultation with President and CJI in consonance with judgments of Second Judges and Third Judges cases which ushered in collegium system.