Anil Divan’s article on executive interference in judicial appointments (June 14) was hard hitting. The whole process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary has been mired in controversy for quite some time. There have been charges of undeserving appointments, which adversely affect the quality of judicial pronouncements. Many erudite legal minds are overlooked while poorly equipped lawyers and judges get appointed to higher courts. Another point is the selection of judges to the Supreme Court solely on the basis of seniority.
Mr. Divan’s views suffer from three major drawbacks. First, in spite of 16 years of its existence, the collegium system has not been able to eradicate the acute shortage of judges in the High Courts. Secondly, the consultation process between the CJI and other judges is shrouded in secrecy. Lastly, it fails to meet the test of accountability. On the other hand, the government’s proposal to create a Judicial Appointments Commission is retrograde, affecting the independence of the judiciary.
Hence, the correct course of action lies in striking a balance between the two opposites by establishing an appointment process which includes transparency, accountability and merit-based selection.