A positive sign for Judicial system

Very recently, the Chief Justice of , DY Chandrachud expresses his willingness to reconsider the collegium system of appointing judges. The issue has
been very hotly debated nation-wise in the media and other forums. The government’s dissatisfaction with the collegium method for appointing Supreme Court
and High Court justices is well known. DY Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India, has adopted a conciliatory tone by promising to examine the collegium
structure. This implies that a writ petition to reinstate the Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) will be heard in due course. This will resurrect the
old NJAC vs. collegium dispute. The NJAC was established following the passage of the 89th Constitutional Amendment in 2014. The commission was made
up of six people: the Chief Justice of India, the two most senior Supreme Court justices, the Law Minister, and two ‘eminent persons.’ The distinguished
individuals were to be nominated for a three-year term (with the condition that there would be no re-nomination). The two people will be nominated by a
committee comprised of the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The commission’s legitimacy was
successfully challenged in the Supreme Court, where it was overturned by a four-one vote. The government’s reasoning at the time was that judges appointed
judges, which was unjust. That stance has remained mostly unchanged. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Law and Justice, has described the collegium system as
“opaque.” In reality, he stated that the majority of judges agreed with him, saying, “Judges are not satisfied with the collegium system today.” He went on to say
that when there is a mechanism for judges to nominate judges, there is politics involved. Worse, “the politics of us politicians is nothing compared to what goes
on in the judiciary,” he warned.
The government is correct. Three or half of the now-disbanded NJAC was made up entirely of senior judges; two other members were also selected in
such a way that government participation was in the minority. That seems reasonable, yet the Supreme Court rejected it. While the current Chief Justice has
agreed to examine the collegium system, his immediate predecessor, UU Lalit, has already stated that no change is necessary because the collegium system
is “excellent.” It appears that major members of the court are opposed to any reform because they think that it will allow the government to intervene
excessively in judicial affairs. The trust gap has grown in recent years as a result of the belief that the government is attempting to populate all organisations,
including constitutional and statutory bodies, with people favourable to its cause. The perception may not be fictitious. In any case, a conciliatory approach
between the government and the judiciary is urgently needed, as the two institutions cannot stay antagonistic to each other for long. For one thing, there are
delays in appointments, which is bad for the already overcrowded judicial system. The Chief Justice has made reconciliation possible by reviewing the
collegium structure in the country. All hopes are now focussed on the early understanding with mutual trust. The sooner the better!