The Government on Monday supported the view of former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma that the present collegium system for appointment of judges to higher courts needed changes but stopped short of suggesting replacement of the present system.
“I totally agree with him about transparency and accountability of judiciary. That’s what we are also addressing,” Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily told reporters here.
He said he was “happy” that after a passage of time, Justice Verma felt that the system he had proposed in 1993 “needs improvement.”
The minister recalled that the collegium system, which gives primacy to the judiciary over the executive in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, was created by one of the judgements of Justice Verma when he was the CJI.
Asked whether the Government was planning on alternative to the present system of appointing judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, Mr. Moily said, “I don’t say replacing collegium system... we are working on a new system which takes care of accountability and transparency in judiciary so that merited judges come into judiciary.”
In an interview to a TV Channel, Justice Verma had suggested for replacing the present collegium system with a National Judicial Commission (NJC) to ensure greater transparency.
“That (NJC) would act as a check no doubt and I think the time has come when more checks and balances are required,” he had said.
Justice Verma had also admitted that his 1993 judgement — which shaped the present collegium system — had not been properly implemented and errors had occurred because of “improper working”.