PIL in SC seeks ‘public body’ to appoint judges

RSTV Bureau

Supreme-Court-of-IndiaA Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking setting up of a “public body” for the appointments in higher judiciary will be heard by the Supreme Court on September 12. The issue of judges appointment has assumed larger proportions after Supreme Court quashed National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act last year restoring the two decade old collegiums system to elevate and appoint judges.

A PIL filed by a group naming National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms is demanding setting up of a “public body”, independent of the executive and judiciary, to ensure fair appointment of judges in High Courts and the apex court and check nepotism.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice DY Chandrachud took up the matter after it was mentioned by advocate Mathews J Nedumpara seeking urgent listing.

In their PIL, the petitioners have also contended that the “common deserving lawyers” are usually not considered for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary and that those close to the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts or politicians or big industrial houses only got chosen.

“In the eyes of the Petitioners, what is paramount is a system of appointment of Judges independent of both the executive and the judiciary,” the petition said.

Alleging nepotism in the selection of judges, the plea said the existing system has appointed the “kith and kin of sitting and former Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, their juniors, celebrated lawyers, Chief Ministers, Governors and a few first generation lawyers who are all politically connected or are close to big industrial houses.”

The plea also argued that the fundamental right of being considered for such appointment of ordinary lawyers has been infringed in the wake of quashing of NJAC Act and enabling 99th constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court.

The plea also said that there was no effective mechanism to address complaints of misconduct against judges.

(With inputs from the PTI)