The Supreme Court on Wednesday came out with a series of guidelines to improve the collegium system of appointing judges. It also asked the government to draft a memorandum of procedure on appointing judges to the high courts and Supreme Court. The memo should be prepared in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the five-judge bench said.
The court directed the Centre to take into account issues of eligibility, transparency, redressal of complaints and other recommendations. The bench emphasised that transparency is important in the selection of judges and suggested the final memo be put up on websites of the high courts and the apex court.
It was also suggested that a record be kept of meetings regarding the collegium and that dissent should be regarded, even if kept confidential. The court also suggested making independent secretariats for the courts to receive and deal with complaints.
The collegium system of appointing judges is one by which the judiciary appoints the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts of India. It came into force in 1993, but was ousted by the Parliament in April. The National Judicial Appointments Commission, which gave the government the power to appoint judges, was then proposed. The NJAC was struck down as unconstitutional in October this year by the Supreme Court, after which the apex court upheld that it was open to bringing in more transparency in the system of appointing judges.