In view of the recent critique of the collegium system, comment on the differences between the collegium system and the now-scrapped NJAC system. What is the way ahead for the Indian judiciary?
The judicial system in India plays a very important function. The final bastion of hope for the average person is the judiciary. In that regard, who sits on the benches of judges is extremely important.
- The Collegium System in India is the body in charge of selecting and transferring judges from the judiciary.
- Unlike other organizations, this was not founded by an Act of Parliament or a provision of the Constitution.
- The Collegium system arose as a result of Supreme Court of India (SC) decisions and it allows for the appointment of new judges to the judiciary by the already-seated justices.
- The Collegium System received a lot of criticism, and as a result, provisions were made to correct these mistakes.
- The National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) stepped in to help with this.
- In the Fourth Judges Case, the Supreme Court, however, rejected the National Judicial Appointments Commission(NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment (2015).
- As a result, the previous collegium system started functioning once more.
- The Collegium System has been in effect since its inception and progression from the Three-Judges Cases.
- It does not appear in the Constitution.
- The Collegium is not subject to any interference.
- Its goal was to keep the Executive separate from the Judiciary in order to maintain the latter as independent as possible.
- The Chief Justice of the SC and four senior judges of the Supreme Court make up the SC Collegium, whereas the Chief Justice of the HC and four senior judges of the High Court make up the HC Collegium.
- The judgments of the Indian Judiciary’s senior and top-ranking members are to be followed.
- The government is unable to interfere.
- The NJAC is a body suggested by the NJAC bill that would have been established under Article 124A of the constitution.
- The Executive would have been involved in the process of appointing the judges through the NJAC.
- The CJI, two senior SC justices, the Union Minister of Law and Justice, and two renowned individuals who were to be picked by a particular committee would have been the members.
- The opinions of those outside the judicial system would be considered in the judge’s appointment.
Criticism of collegium system:
- No mention in the constitution and autocratic in functioning.
- The selection does not follow a democratic path.
- Accountability to the nation’s citizens is little to nonexistent.
- Transparency is lacking in the process. There is no established formal selection process.
- The judges’ eligibility is not predetermined.
- The Collegium system was readopted instead of amending the NJAC Bill.
The collegium system’s subjectivity and irregularity underscore the necessity to reevaluate the nomination of judges. As a result, India must restore the credibility of the higher courts by making the process of choosing judges open and democratic. In addition to reforming the collegium system, All India Judicial Services can also help to raise the standard of judges.