Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday said the apex court with a young team of distinguished scholars, interns and law researchers had prepared a “broad platform” to assess every one of the “top 50 judges” in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court.
“One of the criticisms about the collegium system is that we have no factual data to evaluate people whom we are considering for appointment to the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Chandrachud noted.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture’s centenary edition when he unravelled the “work in progress” to make the collegium system “more transparent”.
“I have a Centre for Research and Planning headed by an officer of the Haryana Judicial Services with two very distinguished young scholars and a number of young people — interns, law researchers who work with us for two years. We have prepared a dossier… I should not say ‘dossier’, but a broad platform in which we have assessed every one of the top 50 judges in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Chandrachud disclosed to an audience of Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, serving and retired judges, eminent jurists like Fali S. Nariman, senior advocates and law students.
The Chief Justice said the idea was to make the process of appointments to the Supreme Court transparent by identifying definite parameters of selection even though the process cannot be held in the public realm.
The team would sift through the candidates’ judgments, their quality, etc.
The Chief Justice, however, did not specify whether the 50 “top” judges would be identified from the first 50 of the seniormost High Court judges or whether the candidates would be picked solely on the basis of their merit and performance on the Bench.
As of now, the appointments are made on the basis of several criteria, which include seniority, regional representation and merit while following a Memorandum of Procedure moulded through the Three Judges Cases.
On Jethmalani, the Chief Justice said he was a luminary who left a lasting contribution to the rule of law and legal education after a lifetime of pursuit of justice.