Rijiju: Many memos received that say collegium is opaque
The government has received "representations from diverse sources on lack of transparency, objectivity and social diversity in the collegium system", law minister Kiren Rijiju said in reply to a Rajya Sabha query.
"Representations from diverse sources on lack of transparency, objectivity and social diversity in the collegium system of appointment of judges to constitutional courts are received from time to time with the request to improve this system," Rijiju said. He said government has sent suggestions for supplementing the Memorandum of Procedure for appointing judges to SC and HCs. MoP guides appointment and transfer of judges.
Citing "representations from diverse sources" received by the government on the need to put in place a better system of appointing judges to the higher judiciary, law minister Kiren Rijiju said in Rajya Sabha that in a bid to make the collegium system "more broad-based, transparent, accountable and bringing objectivity in the system", the government had brought into force the Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 on April 13, 2015.
However, both the Acts were challenged in the Supreme Court which eventually declared both the laws as unconstitutional and void on October 16, 2015. The collegium system, as existing prior to enforcement of the Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, was declared to be operative.
The minister was replying to a written question in the House. In a related but a separate reply, Rijiju said as on December 16, 154 proposals for judges' appointments received from high courts were at various stages of processing between the government and the SC collegium. He pointed out that recommendations from high court collegiums are yet to be received for 179 vacancies in high courts.