Justice Chelameswar opts out of collegium meeting

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Supreme Court of India.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

Justice J Chelameswar, one of the five senior most judges of the Supreme Court, did not take part in Collegium’s meeting on Thursday to discuss various issues including the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP). It is learnt that he even wrote a letter to CJI TS Thakur expressing his inability to take part in the meeting of the Collegium.

The Collegium, which takes decisions on the elevation and appointment of judges in Higher courts and Supreme Court consists of five senior most judges including the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Chelameswar, had written a dissenting verdict which quashed NJAC, citing non-transparency in the collegium system of appointment. In a 4-1 judgement, the five-judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court had last year quashed the law brought in by the Centre to appoint judges in the higher judiciary.

Off-late, the apex court judiciary and the government have been at loggerheads on the finalisation of the MoP which will deal with the procedures to be followed in the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.

Recently the Supreme Court, while hearing a PIL, had sent out a stern message to the government over non-execution of the collegium’s decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges in High Courts.

It had warned the Centre that the court would not tolerate “logjam in judges’ appointment” and would intervene to “fasten accountability” as the justice delivery system is “collapsing”.

In his dissenting judgement, which had quashed the NJAC Act and the 99th constitutional amendment, Justice Chelameswar had said that the collegium system of judges’ appointment was “opaque and inaccessible” to the people at large and it needed “transparency”.

He had said the assumption that “primacy of the judiciary” in the appointment of judges was a basic feature of the Constitution “is empirically flawed.”

The Supreme Court judge had said that in the last 20 years, after the advent of collegium system, a number of recommendations made by the collegia of High Courts were rejected by the collegium of the Supreme Court.

(With inputs from the PTI)