SC collegium and Centre spar over scanning of record of candidates recommended for HC judgeship

Team SoOLEGAL 30 Apr 2018 7:25pm

SC collegium and Centre spar over scanning of record of candidates recommended for HC judgeship

New Delhi: Tussle between Supreme Court and Centre over the appointment of judges continues. Close on the heels of government returning name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K J Joseph to judgeship in SC, now a new friction has erupted between SC and Centre. This one is about the SC questioning the government’s move to hold “detailed scrutiny” of professional record of advocates and judicial officers recommended for judgeship by high courts. Despite the objection, the Law Ministry continues to send a summary of the candidates’ professional track record to the collegium.

For assessing the suitability of candidate for judgeship in High Court,  the Law Ministry had initiated a evaluation procedure on various attributes and are given numerical grading .The criteria laid was like, in case advocate's name is recommended the judgement received in the cases they represented where as in case of judicial officers being recommended, number of adjournments, time for disposal of cases was considered. But collegium expressed serious objections on this and said only SC collegium has this right.

As per procedure, once the three-member high court collegium recommends a name to the SC collegium, the HC panel also sends the performance record of the candidate. to the law ministry, which attaches an IB report about the candidate’s overall record and forwards it to the SC collegium for a final call. But due to incident involving former Calcutta High Court judge justice C S Karnan — who was sentenced to six months in jail by the Supreme Court for contempt of court, the government recommended to SC to review the process of appointment. During the time of Chief Justice J S Kehar, the process was initiated and after several rounds of discussion, the collegium sent it objections on various clauses. The panel objected to the national security clause, a clause on the basis of which government could reject an appointment. Second was setting of secretariat for vetting of names and collegium were to select the names sent to them.

Judicial appointments are easier said than done but sooner the matter is resolved better it is for the overall justice system of the country.

Tagged: SC   Collegium   Centre   Law Ministry  
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