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Collegium’s word final

Collegium’s word final
Highlights

The Centre has refused to accept the apex court collegium-'s recommendation to elevate KM Joseph, the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the...

The Centre has refused to accept the apex court collegium's recommendation to elevate KM Joseph, the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the apex court. The appointment of judges to the Supreme Court falls under Article 124 of the Constitution of India. Section 2 of the Article 124 lists out who and how will be Supreme Court judge be appointed, and when the CJI's intervention becomes necessary, whereas, Section 3 lists out the eligibility criteria for the appointment of judges.

A judge is appointed to the Supreme Court by the President on the recommendation of the collegium of the Chief Justice of India, the four most senior judges of the court and the senior-most judge who belongs to the state of the prospective appointee. Legal experts are of the opinion that the Collegium has a final say in the appointment of judges and its decision is binding on the government.

The Third Judges Case has a relevant para which reads, "However, if after due consideration of the reasons disclosed to the Chief Justice of India, that recommendation is reiterated by the Chief Justice of India with the unanimous agreement of the judges of the Supreme Court consulted in the matter, with reasons for not withdrawing the recommendation, then that appointment as a matter of healthy convention ought to be made,” according to a Firstpost article.

The Collegium System which deals with appointment of judges to the SC and High Courts is not anywhere mentioned in the Constitution. It evolved out of judgements in three cases which came to be known as the Three Judges Case. To a reference by the President of India in 1998 for clarification on appointments, the apex court in a case that came to be known as Third Judges Case stipulated that a Collegium of Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court take up appointments and transfers of judges.

In the First Judges Case in December 1981, the SC had ruled that if a dispute arose between the judiciary and the executive over appointments of judges, the latter would have “ultimate power.” In the Second Judges Case in October 1993, the apex court restored the supremacy of CJI in the issue of appointments, but he should consult two senior-most judges of the court.

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