Challenges in the Collegium System

Challenges in the Collegium System


  • A meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium, comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI), and four senior-most judges, which was called for September 30 but did not take place, was subsequently “closed without there being any further deliberation”. 

Role of the Collegium:

  • The Collegium system, in which the senior-most judges in a group select candidates for the higher judiciary, has been in use for about 30 years.
  • Its significance stems from the fact that transfers and appointments to the Supreme Court and high courts are subject to its judgement.
  • Its operational procedures are outlined in a “Memorandum of Procedure.”
How it came into existence?
  • According to the Constitution, the President appoints Supreme Court judges after consulting with the Chief Justice of India.
  • The court ruled in the “First Judges Case” that the consultation with the CJI must be “full and effective.”
  • The collegium system was established in 1993 following the Second Judges case. On judicial nominations, it was decided that the Chief Justice of India would need to consult a collegium of his two senior-most justices in the Supreme Court.
  • The collegium was expanded to include the CJI and four of his senior-most judges in the “Third Judges Case” case in 1998, which was a Presidential reference.
Lack of Transparency:
  • The Collegium’s operation has come under fire for being unclear. The Supreme Court’s website hosts its resolutions and recommendations, providing pertinent details regarding its judgments.
  • However, it is uncertain how the discussions are going or if there are any internal disagreements over a particular candidate’s appropriateness.
  • It primarily operates on the basis of a system where resolutions are adopted and sent to the Union Law Ministry for further action.
  • The Collegium may reject or resubmit a proposal for the appointment of a judge if it is sent back for review.
  • The Collegium’s decision is enforceable against the government if it is reaffirmed after reconsideration.


Source The Hindu