Collegium system is the law until Centre brings new legislation, says SC

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Source: The post is based on the article “Collegium system is the law until Centre brings new legislation, says SC” published in The Hindu on 9th December 2022

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has said that nobody is stopping the government from bringing a new law on judicial appointments but till then the Collegium system and its Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) is the “final word”.

What did the Supreme Court say on the collegium?

The power to enact a law is with Parliament. But this is subject to scrutiny by the courts. Hence, the scheme of the Constitution stipulates the court should be the final arbiter on the position of law.

Based on this, Parliament passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission(NJAC) Act in 2015, but it did not muster the Constitutional mandate.

Therefore, the law on judicial appointments as it stands now is the Collegium system evolved by the Supreme Court in the Three Judges cases. Till this law is prevalent, it must be followed to the teeth.

The court also said that the average clearance of names by the Supreme Court Collegium was just a little over 50%. This means that the government’s views on them are taken into account by the Collegium before proposing a name for judgeship.

Why did the court make these observations on Collegium?

The Supreme Court made these remarks after the Vice-President criticized the striking down of the National Judicial Appointments Commission(NJAC) Act by a Constitution Bench in October 2015. 

The Vice President obliquely referring to the NJAC law said the court had “undone” the will of the people expressed through the Parliament.

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