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It’s daunting task, obliged: SC on improving collegium

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it “felt obliged” while dealing with the daunting task of working for improvement of the judicial system of collegium for appointing judges in higher judiciary and termed it as a very challenging responsibility.

A five-judge constitution Bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said that compilation of the written suggestions placed before it was in the nature of a summary prepared out of approximately 11,500 pages of views expressed.

The Bench, which passed a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system to make it more transparent and accountable, took into account the suggestions received from stakeholders who had sent them on the website of the Ministry of Law and Justice.

“Even though the task seemed to be daunting, we felt obliged to take up the responsibility, as it was after all, for an improvement of the judicial system and such an opportunity must not be lost,” the Bench said.

“We had a very challenging responsibility to embark upon and reflect, and thereafter, to sieve such of the suggestions as were likely to improve the ‘collegium system’. Only then would we be in a position to sponsor their introduction into the Memorandum of Procedure for the appointment of Judges of the higher judiciary,” it said. In its order, the Apex Court noted that a few suggestions, “though honestly and meaningfully expressed, contained diametrically opposite recommendations.” 

“It was, therefore, felt that the suggestions received should be compiled in an orderly manner so as to enable all concerned stakeholders to have a bird’s eye view of the same, thereby possibly making the debate thereon more judicious,” it noted.

The court also said that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had made an “impassioned submission, not in any obstructive manner, but as a matter of faithful assistance, suggesting that we should desist from pursuing the contemplated course of action.” 
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