Curb discretion in judges' appointment: Jaitley

Curb discretion in judges' appointment: Jaitley

He does not approve the idea of restoring the primacy of the executive in judicial appointments apprehending that political parties might be amenable to pressures from their acquaintances for appointment as judges.

Mooting the idea of having "comparable objective criteria" in judicial appointments, Jaitley told PTI, "You need a legislative change which must now legislatively restrict the discretion of the appointing authority whether it is collegium or a commission."

He was replying to a question if the pre-1993 primacy of executive in judicial appointment needs to be restored. Referring to the absence of norms and regulations for the Supreme Court collegium to exercise its discretion in selecting judges for appointment in higher judiciary, Jaitley said, "You must introduce the criteria for appointment. Now it is subjective. It should be changed to objective ones."

Advocating introduction of "comparable objective criteria" for appointment of judges, he said, "I (we) must find out what are the academic qualifications of all of you (candidate judges). How many cases have each one of you argued?

"How many of judgements that you've delivered, are reported in books and journals?

How many articles have you published? How many juniors have you trained? Nothing is on record now. Unless criterias are introduced and they become comparable objective criterias, the judges have become completely...

"It's (the present appointment criteria) full of nepotism and therefore you have to go back (as) you can't trust their discretions. You must now regulate judicial discretions in matter of appointments."

Jaitley said his new ideas on judicial appointments have been evolved over and above the provisions of the 2003 bill that he had introduced in Parliament for constitution of National Judicial Commission (NJC) for judicial appointment and having disciplinary jurisdiction over higher judiciary judges.

He said the idea of regulating discretions in matter of judicial appointment has also the backing of former Chief Justice of India J S Verma.