In an exclusive report, GS Vasu of The New Indian Express reports that Justice J Chelameswar, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, has questioned the lack of transparency in transfer and appointment of judges by the SC Collegium, headed by the Chief Justice of India.
It is reported that Justice Chelameswar has written a three-page letter on Thursday to the Chief Justice of India and Justice TS Thakur, stating that he is unwilling to attend the meeting of the Collegium, which decides on the crucial issue of appointment and transfer of judges in the country. He is also reported to have skipped the meeting of the Collegium on Thursday.
Justice Chelameswarâs position on the Collegium system however is not new. He was the sole dissenting judge in the 5-judge bench SC order in October 2015 which struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, which sought to give the Union Government a say in judicial appointments. The Supreme Court had then emphatically stated that it was the sole authority on judicial appointments.
Chelameswar had argued against completely doing away with any role for the government in the process as that was against democratic principles.
TNIE further reports that in his letter to the CJI and Justice Thakur, Chelameswar has said he saw no point in attending these meeting as they are not on record.
ânothing thatâs discussed in the Collegium meeting remains on record and therefore, he saw no purpose in attending the meeting. Instead, he has suggested that the recommendations be sent to him in writing to record his views and return them to the Chief Justice.â
He is not the only judge who has reservations about the appointment process. TNIE points out
âHis colleague Justice Kurien, who was also on the constitutional bench that struck down the NJAC Act, had sailed with the majority view but admitted in his judgment that the present Collegium system lacks transparency, accountability and objectivity. In fact, Justice Kurien went to the extent of saying that the Collegium system needs to be improved requiring a âGlasnostâ and a âPerestroikaâ. It seems the moment has finally arrived.â