Today's thread is about the Collegium system .
India’s Constitution originally stipulated that the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts would be appointed by the President based on a process of “consultation” with senior judges.
In the 1970s, there was a perception that the independence of the judiciary was under threat.
As a result the present collegium system emerged based on three key rulings.
Hence we can say that the current system of appointment and transfer of judges has evolved through judgments of the SC, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
In 1981, the “First Judges Case” ruled that the process of consultation with the CJI in the matter of appointments must be full and effective but gave the central government “primacy in judicial appointments.” by ruling that there was no requirement of a consensus
In 1993, the “Second Judges Case” overturned this decision and introduced the collegium system, arguing that “consultation” meant “concurrence.”
Specifically, the ruling added that process of appointing judges would not be based on the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior-most judges in the Supreme Court.
In 1998, On a Presidential Reference to it the “Third Judges Case” ruled that the collegium would be a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues establishing the system that is most similar to the one currently being followed .
Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.
The government’s role is limited to raising objections and seeking clarifications regarding the collegium’s choices,but if the collegium reiterates the same names, the government is bound to appoint them as judges.
The attempt made to replace it by a setting up a ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission’ as part of the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act-2014 was struck down by the court in 2015
They did so on the ground that it violated the Basic structure doctrine and posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary
This happened despite the fact that the 99th amendment was passed in a bipartisan manner by both houses and ratified in 16 states before it was struck down..

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