Other States

Collegium best system, but needs tweaking: Lokur

Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur on Wednesday said he was disappointed that the Collegium’s resolution to elevate Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Rajendra Menon as apex court judges was not put up in the public domain.

Justice Lokur was a member of the five-judge Supreme Court Collegium which had on December 12 last year recommended the names of the sitting Chief Justices of Delhi and Rajasthan High Courts for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Supersession of judges

Ten days after his retirement on December 31, a newly constituted Collegium decided to drop the two names and instead elevated Delhi High Court judge Sanjiv Khanna and Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice Dinesh Maheshwari by superseding over 30 senior judges.

“Once a resolution is passed, it is uploaded on the website. It does disappoint me that it (December 12 resolution) was not put up on the website,” Justice Lokur said, but clarified that he was not “privy” to the additional material that led to change in the decision of the Collegium.

Justice Lokur was speaking at an interaction on ‘State of the Indian Judiciary’ organised by a legal opinion portal.

He pointed out that the contentious Memorandum of Procedure, for appointment of higher court judges, was silent on many things, including details of eligibility criteria. He, however, supported the Collegium system saying that “in the existing circumstances, it was the best system. But it needs tweaking”.

During the session, Justice Lokur was asked why judges whose names were rejected by the Collegium were not good enough to be promoted to the Supreme Court but were okay to continue as High Court Chief Justices.

Responding to the question, Justice Lokur said, “A person may be a good Chief Justice of a High Court, but not a good Supreme Court judge.”

Referring to the row over delayed elevation of Justice K.M. Joseph to the Supreme Court, Justice Lokur said that the government may sit on a file if it does not want the person to be elevated.

“Everybody knows the government has been sitting on some files. There has to be some mechanism by which timelines which are laid down are adhered to,” he said.

‘Nothing wrong’

Justice Lokur said there was “nothing wrong” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending a dinner hosted by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in November last year as it was for a convention of judges from BIMSTEC countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.

Justice Lokur, who was part of the controversial presser held in January last year by four sitting judges of the apex court against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said “it was worth it”. “It has brought about some openness in the system,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 8:06:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/collegium-best-system-but-needs-tweaking-lokur/article26074170.ece

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