A ‘platform’ will assess ‘top’ 50 judges before appointment in SC: CJI

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday said the top court with a young team of distinguished scholars, interns and law researchers had prepared a “broad platform” to assess every one of the “top 50 judges” in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court.

“One of the criticisms about the collegium system is that we have no factual data to evaluate people whom we are considering for appointment to the Supreme Court,” the Chief Justice noted. He was speaking at the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture’s centenary edition when he unravelled the “work in progress” to make the system “more transparent”.

“I have a Centre for Research and Planning headed by an officer of the Haryana Judicial Services with two very distinguished young scholars and a number of young people — interns, law researchers who work with us for two years. We have prepared a dossier… I should not say ‘dossier’, but a broad platform in which we have assessed every one of the top 50 judges in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice disclosed to an audience of Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, serving and retired judges, jurists like Fali S. Nariman, senior advocates and law students.

He said the idea was to make the process of appointments to the court transparent by identifying definite parameters of selection even though the process cannot be held in the public realm. The team would sift through the candidates’ judgments, their quality, and so on.

However, he did not specify whether the “top” judges would be identified from the first 50 of the senior-most High Court judges or whether the candidates would be picked based on their merit and performance. Now the appointments are made on the basis of seniority, regional representation and merit while following a Memorandum of Procedure moulded through the Three Judges Cases.