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Read Gopal Subramanium's 7 neo-collegium suggestions [READ SUBMISSION + Pinky Anand & Arvind Datar]

Gopal Subramanium suggests improvements
Gopal Subramanium suggests improvements

Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium has suggested in his 3 November submissions to the Supreme Court that is hearing a consultation on how to reform the collegium system the following seven ways in which the collegium should be improved to improve transparency, formulation of eligibility criteria, establishment of a permanent collegium secretariat and a mechanism to deal with complaints or adverse reports:

1. Before forming a recommendation, it is necessary that some internal criteria have to be clearly established for appointment of a Judge or Chief Justice of a High Court, as a Judge of the Supreme Court. These criteria are extremely vital and have to be examined with reference to the material which is available on record in terms of judgments, case records and other judicial functions following from a personal interraction with the collegium. A 11 point criteria has been outlined in the Suggestions.

2. No prospective appointee or anyone who is likely to be considered must approach either the Chief Justice of India or any of the members of the Collegium for the purpose of sub-consciously or consciously furthering his position. Unless and until officially called, those who are likely to be considered ought not to call upon either the Chief Justice of India or the members of the Collegium.

3. Discussions which take place within the Collegium and the seniormost Judge of the concerned High Court must be completely confidential.

4. No member of the political executive (including a minister who may be a former lawyer) directly or indirectly will seek to influence either the Chief Justice or the members of the Collegium. If any such attempt is made, the Supreme Court must commence appropriate action and must inform the President of India that there is an attempt to influence the judiciary in the matter of judicial appointments.

5. In order to enable timely appointments, the Collegium must have a proper Secretariat. The Secretariat must consist of retired officers of the Indian Administrative Service or those who possess a degree in Masters of Business Administration or such other competent persons who would have administrative skills in maintaining and running a Secretariat. There must also be an Advisory Board consisiting of three eminent persons who have held distinguised constitutional office such as a former Comptroller and Auditor General of India or a former Chief Election Commissioner of India/Election Commissioner. in the Secretariat. This is the tier which should be capable of verifying discreetly matters which may touch upon either the integrity, character, reputation or complaints in relation to prospective candidates.

6. The transfer of Judges to gain seniority in transferred High Courts for the purpose of being elevated to the Supreme Court is also not a correct practice and prima facie has been viewed as manipulative. It is necessary to discontinue such a practice.

7. A Judge must not be appointed in the high court in if any of his relatives practice in that Court. The definition of ‘relative’ is appended to the schedule annexed along with the note of Suggestions.

Read Subramanium, and Livelaw, Pinky Anand and Arvind Datar’s suggestions in full below.

Gopal Subramanium collegium reform suggestions

Pinky Anand & Arvind Datar collegium suggestions (via LiveLaw)

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