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CJI bats for collegium system

New Delhi, Sep 14, 2013, DHNS: 0:28 IST
The Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam. File Photo
Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam on Saturday defended the collegium system for appointment of judges to higher judiciary, claiming that it was “broad-based.” He, however, refused to question the Centre’s right to bring in a bill to change it.

He also stressed the need for an independent judiciary.

“The need for judicial independence is not for the judges or the judiciary per se, but the people,” Sathasivam said. Speaking in a seminar on “Rule of Law” here, the chief justice avoided commenting on the judicial appointment commission.

“Now, as the CJI, I am not going into the contents of the bill and how it was passed as it is the prerogative of the government and it is for the people to accept it or not. It is too early for me to say anything on the judicial appointment commission or committee,” he said.

His remarks came after president of the Bar Association of India, Anil Divan, raised questions on the way the Centre brought the bill “without” taking members of the judicial fraternity into confidence and “rushed” it through in the Rajya Sabha.

Divan rued the lack of response from the law minister to a letter by top jurists dated April 17, seeking a copy of the bill.

The CJI said the government and its agencies have a say in the present collegium system and their views are also taken into consideration for appointment of judges.

Justice Sathasivam said no name is finalised until it gets a clearance from the law minister, prime minister and the President. Inputs from the Intelligence Bureau, respective high courts and eminent people are taken into consideration.

A day before his appointment, Sathasivam had said the collegium system was not “very rigid” and the government was free to take a call on any name suggested under the mechanism.

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