Collegium: Public too can give opinion

Decision comes after advocates protest during hearing

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:54 am IST

Published - November 05, 2015 11:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The Constitution Bench hearing on Thursday to “better” the collegium system initially got drowned in a wave of protests from certain advocates who demanded that every citizen be heard on the issue.

But the initial pandemonium and a brief confrontation between the Bench and the lawyers became a turning point for the court to decide to look beyond the 60-odd suggestions compiled in a report before it, and invite public participation in improving the collegium system.

While advocate Mathews J. Nedumpara challenged the jurisdiction of the five-judge Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar to invite and hear suggestions to “better” the collegium, another lawyer stood up in the packed courtroom to ask why only a few lawyers were invited to give suggestions by the court.

Initially facing the onslaught in silence, Justice Khehar responded exasperatedly to the loud interruptions. “Whoever wants to destroy this court, please go ahead and destroy it. We are not going to say anything,” Justice Khehar said.

‘Every citizen a petitioner’

To this, a lawyer replied that “silence of the Bench will not lead anywhere. Every citizen is a petitioner here. Everyone has to be heard on this issue. Rule of law is not in the hands of a few lawyers.”

Reacting to this cacophony, Justice Khehar agreed that “there are other people who want to make representations” on the issue, before discussing with Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar a proposal to have the Union Law Ministry website host a platform for public’s suggestions.

“Give some time for more suggestions to come in. They can be collated again and put up before the Supreme Court,” Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi submitted.

Senior advocate Fali Nariman said: “Thousands and thousands of lawyers can either be heard orally or in writing, but ultimately it is up to the court to come to a conclusion.”

On October 16, the Bench, striking down the NJAC judgment, had invited the lawyers and the government to come up with suggestions to improve the collegium.

In the previous hearing on November 3, the Bench gave 48 hours to senior advocate Arvind Datar and ASG Pinky Anand to compile the suggestions in a report.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.