The decisions of the Supreme Court collegium -- the body of SC judges that decides the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts -- will for the first time be made public.
The collegium had come under intense criticism after Justice Jayant M Patel of the Karnataka high court was transferred to the Allahabad high court. Justice Patel, who had ordered a CBI investigation into the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, had been expected to take over as chief justice of a high court. Justice Patel had resigned after his transfer orders came through.
The Supreme Court has now given into the pressure, saying on Friday that the decisions of the collegium will now be made public -- they will be published on the Supreme Court's website -- to ensure transparency in the appointment and transfer of judges.
This is a first. It has never happened before.
The collegium's decisions will be published on the Supreme Court's website. (Reuters)
Friday's resolution, passed by the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court -- Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice R Gogoi, Justice M Lokur, and Justice K Joseph -- stated:
“That the decisions henceforth taken by the Collegium indicating the reasons shall be put on the website of the Supreme Court, when the recommendation(s) is/are sent to the Government of India, with regard to the cases relating to initial elevation to the High Court Bench, confirmation as permanent Judge(s) of the High Court, elevation to the post of Chief Justice of High Court, transfer of High Court Chief Justices / Judges and elevation to the Supreme Court, because on each occasion the material which is considered by the Collegium is different. The Resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the Collegium system.”
In March this year, the collegium -- headed then by the former CJI -- had turned down the central government's suggested clauses on the appointment of judges.
For decades the centre and the Supreme Court have been unable to come to terms on the Memorandum of Procedure, a crucial document that would cover the appointment and transfer of judges.
CJI Dipak Mishra has in the past slammed allegations of judges being pro-government and of external influences on appointments.
Now, with this latest move, the Supreme Court has sent out the message that the collegium has nothing to hide from its citizens.