About Collegium system
• Collegiums system in India is the system by which the judges are appointed by the judges only, also termedas “Judges- selecting- Judges”.
• Collegium system is used for appointments and transfers of judges in High courts and Supreme Courts.
• It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court (SC),and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
• The Supreme Court collegium
o Headed by: the Chief Justice of India
o Other members: four other seniormost judges of the court.
• A High Court collegium
o Headed by: HC Chief Justice
o Other members: four other seniormost judges of that court.
• Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.
Government’s role in Collegium System
• Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.
• The government’s role is limited to getting an inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) if a lawyer is to be elevated as a judge in a High Court or the Supreme Court.
• It can also raise objections and seek clarifications regarding the collegium’s choices, but if the collegiumreiterates the same names, the government is bound, under Constitution Bench judgments, to appoint them as judges.
Constitution on the appointment of Judges
• There is no mention of the collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.
• But the Constitution of India lays down certain guidelines as the appointment of the judges in the High Courts and the Supreme Courts is done by the President of India and the powers are given to him under Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Indian Constitution.
• The President is just required to hold consultation with judges of Supreme court and High Court as it may deem necessary.
Points against the Collegium System
• As a democracy, it seems anomalous that a judiciary whose essence is determined by a process that is evidently undemocratic.
• The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings, all of these point to the fact that the Collegium is not only as opaque as it was, it may perhaps have become worse.