Collegium system should be revisited: Advani

Senior BJP leader L K Advani today said the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court judges should be revisited to include the Executive in the process as reports of corruption, nepotism, favouritism and other ills have been gaining ground in the judiciary.

In his latest blog posting, Advani cited views of retired Supreme Court judges Rumal Pal and J S Verma as well as the Law Commission report to insist that the present collegium system -- comrpising of Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court -- is not adequate.

Advani suggests that the Executive too should have a role in appointment and transfer of judges to bring in checks and balances.

"These days the issue most discussed in the country is corruption. There was a time when all talk of corruption was related only to the Executive, politicians and bureaucrats. No one talked of corruption in the judiciary, certainly not in the higher judiciary. Things have changed in recent years," he said.

Advani quotes Justice (retd) Pal who said in a memorial lecture that seven deadly sins afflict the judiciary and listed corruption as one of them.

"Lately, a perceptible change has come about in the standards of judges selected," he said.

The BJP leader said Justice (retd.) Verma had also suggested that there is a need to do a rethink on the present system of appointing judges.

Advani referred to Law Commission's 214th report, submitted in 2008, which states: "In all other Constitutions either the Executive is the sole authority to appoint judges, or the Executive appoints judges in consultation with the Chief Justice. The Indian Constitution has followed the latter method."

Justice Verma states that the role of the Executive has been "completely eliminated and excluded".

Advani cites an observation of the Law Commission which said: "The Indian Constitution provides a beautiful system of checks and balances under Articles 124 (2) and 217 (1) for the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts where both the Executive and the Judiciary have been given a balanced role. It is time the original balance of power is restored."

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