Published On: Mon, Jan 16th, 2023

Centre writes to Supreme Court seeking its representation in Collegium

New Delhi: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiu has written to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, suggesting the inclusion of government representatives in the Supreme Court collegium that decides on judges’ appointments.

The letter could become the latest flashpoint between the Centre and judiciary

The law ministry wants transparency and public accountability in the selection process of constitutional court judges, reported several media houses. It may be recalled that President Draupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju have earlier voiced their concerns regarding judicial reforms, especially in the appointment of judges.

The letter could become the latest flashpoint between the Centre and judiciary who have been at loggerheads over the mechanism to appoint Supreme Court and high court judges.

Last year, Rijiju had called the collegium system “alien” to the Constitution, saying that the apex court in its wisdom, through a court ruling, created collegium, but before 1991 all judges were appointed by the government.

According to sources, Kiren Rijiju in his letter said that the government wants its nominee on the panel “for infusion of transparency and public accountability” into the selection process of constitutional court judges.

The letter is “just a follow-up action of letters written earlier to the Chief Justice,” Rijiju said on Monday to ANI. He also said that the Supreme Court constitution bench had talked about a possible restructuring while striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC).

Kiren Rijiju in a tweet said that the contents in the letter to CJI are “exactly in conformity’ with the observations and directions of the Supreme Court Constitution bench. “Convenient politics is not advisable, especially in the name of Judiciary. Constitution of India is supreme and nobody is above it.,” he said in a tweet.

The law minister at the Times Now Summit last year, said the Constitution of India is a “religious document” for everyone, especially the government. “Anything which is alien to the Constitution merely because of the decision taken by the courts or some judges, how do you expect that the decision will be backed by the country,” he asked.

It may be recalled that the Parliament had passed the NJAC Act with near unanimity, to overturn the collegium system. However, the Supreme Court struck down the law.

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