‘Collegium system: solution worse than the disease’

Justice Shah questions “unusual system” of judges appointing judges

July 03, 2014 03:18 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Law Commission of India chairman Justice A.P. Shah lauded Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha’s move to invite distinguished members of the Bar as judges of the highest court.

Referring to the recent controversy over the recommendation of Gopal Subramaiam, Justice Shah said “I personally feel this was a significant step by the CJI. In the past, we had only a few occasions like this. It should not happen that this episode [the recent controversy over the recommendation of Mr. Subramaniam] will become a setback … lawyers may not consent [to join the Bench] because of this controversy.”

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu , he said the Judicial Appointments Commission was a step in the right direction to free judicial appointments from “inappropriate politicisation.” “Ultimately, the rationale of having the Commission instead of the collegium system is to strengthen the quality of appointments made, promote diversity and sustain public confidence in judicial system,” Justice Shah said.

But the Bill in its current form remained silent on transparency and offered no role to the civil society in judicial appointments. “The mere setting up of a Judicial Appointments Commission cannot solve the problem of the present system of appointment of judges,” he stressed.

“The inception of the collegium system was well-intentioned. In all fairness, it did solve the problem of excessive executive interference. But on the whole, the collegium system is a solution which has proved much worse than the disease,” Justice Shah said.

“Judges are today chosen on undisclosed criteria in largely unknown circumstances. Justice Ruma Pal [a former woman Supreme Court judge] remarked that it is one of the best-kept secrets in the country. The system is completely opaque,” Justice Shah said.

Top News Today

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.