Allahabad HC judge questions judges' appointments

Allahabad high court. DH file photo

 A senior judge of the Allahabad high court has raised serious questions on the Collegium System for the appointment of the judges and said that the existing criteria for the judges' appointment were “casteism” and “nepotism”.

Justice Rang Nath Pandey of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a change in the system of appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts as the procedure was not “transparent”.

Justice Pandey, in his letter, has congratulated Modi on the latter's win in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls and said that the victory has “removed the black shadow of dynasty on Indian politics”.

“Unfortunately the judiciary (high courts and supreme court) is afflicted with casteism and nepotism… Here being, members of the families of the judges decide the next judge,” he said in the letter.

Justice Pandey said that the judges were appointed “at tea parties in the closed chambers on the basis of recommendations and liking of the senior judges”.

“Special care is taken to keep the process a secret and the names of the judges are made public only after the completion of the appointment process,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Supreme Court had termed the establishment of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) as “unconstitutional” and held that it interfered with the authority of the apex court.

Justice Pandey referred to the press conference by four SC judges last year and said that it puts the “integrity of the judiciary in doubts”.

“In your (Modi) case, the order for retrial was a surprise to all,” he added.
Justice Pandey urged the prime minister to take strong steps to “restore” the dignity of the judiciary so that “we will be satisfied to hear that a man from a humble background has become the chief justice of India”.

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