The Supreme Court said on Monday it will have to constitute a bench to hear a plea against the collegium system of appointment of judges to the top court and high courts.
“I will have to constitute a bench,” Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud told advocate Mathews J Nedumpara tersely after the latter mentioned an old plea filed by him for urgent listing.
Mr Nedumpara referred to the recent interviews of former top court judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who retired on December 25 last year.
In an interview with the news agency PTI on December 29, Justice (retd) Kaul had said the National Judicial Appointments Commission was never given a chance to work, leading to angst in political circles and friction in the working of the collegium system of judges appointing judges to the higher judiciary.
The Narendra Modi government, after coming to power in 2014, had got enacted the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act.
The NJAC, tasked with the responsibility of making judicial appointments, comprised the Chief Justice of India, two senior Supreme Court judges, the union law minister and two other eminent persons nominated by the CJI, the prime minister, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
However, in October 2015, the Supreme Court struck down the NJAC Act holding it unconstitutional.
In the interview, Justice (retd) Kaul said one has to accept there is a problem with the collegium system and it will be “unrealistic” to say that it is working smoothly.
“If people say it (collegium) works smoothly, that would be unrealistic in a sense because that is not a fact. That is reflected by the number of appointments which remain pending. Even till today, certain names which have been recommended, are pending,” Justice (retd) Kaul had said.
“We have to accept that there is a problem in the system. If we close our eyes to the problem, we will not come to a solution. You must acknowledge the problem first and then only you can come up with a solution,” he had said.
Justice (retd) Kaul, who was a member of the Supreme Court collegium for over a year, had said at present the collegium system is the law of the land and it must be implemented as it stands.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)