6th October 2017, New Delhi
Lawyers Collective welcomes the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court’s Collegium to upload any forthcoming resolution, on elevation of candidates and transfer of Judges to the higher judiciary, with reasons on their website. The decision that read as below,
“Decision on uploading of collegium’s resolutions with reasons, on each candidate for elevation as Judge of High Court, Chief Justice of High Court or as Judge of Supreme Court or transfer on the Supreme Court’s official website for ensuring transparency of collegium system”
“The resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the collegium system”
was signed by all the five members of the Collegium – Chief Justice Misra, Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The move in the spirit of transparency is a landmark step towards creating accountability of the Judiciary.
Lawyers Collective has strongly stood against the arbitrariness and the opaque nature of the Collegium system. The Supreme Court of India is the flag bearer to upholding principles of equality enshrined in the Constitution of India. There has been discontent amongst members of the bar as well as the general public regarding the appointment and transfer of Judges with respect to diversity and qualification of the selected candidates. The decision to make the process of selection available in the public domain has been a long-standing demand and now with this positive decision we hope to achieve a more transparent process of appointment and transfer in the future.
However, we urge the Collegium to make the decision applicable from the date the Chief Justice took charge so that it covers the period of the present collegium and not from the date of the resolution that is 6th October 2017. This decision would ensure that we are given the reason for the untimely and unexpected resignation of Justice Jayant Patel of the Gujarat High Court, who was due to be elevated as a Chief Justice, a year back. We also express our concern that neither a Judge in the Supreme Court represents the state of Gujarat since the retirement of Justice Anil Dave, nor does Gujarat have a Chief Justice in any other High Court. This makes the resignation of Justice Patel a matter of grave concern leading to unnecessary speculation that the reason for his resignation was that he was overlooked for being elevated as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court or any other High Court. True and genuine transparency would require that the reasons for his non-elevation be made known to the public.
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