Impression that judges appoint judges is wrong, says CJI

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It is government which finally appoints them in the name of the President, says N.V. Ramana

It is government which finally appoints them in the name of the President, says N.V. Ramana

The impression that “judges appoint judges” in India is wrong. It is the government which “finally appoints the judges in the name of the President of India, the Head of our State”, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said on Monday.

Chief Justice Ramana was in conversation with U.S. Supreme Court judge, Justice Stephen Breyer, on the “comparative approaches of the Supreme Courts of the world’s largest and oldest democracies”.

“There is an impression that in India judges appoint judges. It is a wrong impression and I want to correct that. The appointment is done through a lengthy consultative process. Many stakeholders are consulted. The Executive is one of the key stake holders,” the CJI said.

He explained how once a proposal was made of a name as a High Court judge, the State government, the High Court and the Governor concerned all take measure of the candidate.

The Centre vets the name thoroughly before the file is sent to the Supreme Court. Then the top three judges of the Supreme Court would examine the proposal based on the inputs given by all the stakeholders.

They, very importantly, take the opinion of the Consultee Judge — a Supreme Court judge hailing from the State or had earlier worked in the particular High Court for which the name was proposed for.

Many people may not be aware of this… Only after taking into account wide range of opinions from diverse sources, the collegium forms its opinion. Most of the times it is unanimous opinion. I do not think a selection process can be more democratic than this.

“Here, I want to emphasise the fact that it is the government which finally appoints the judges in the name of the President of India, Head of our State,” Chief Justice Ramana said in the webinar.

The CJI said sustaining people’s faith in the judiciary was the guiding principle.

The Chief Justice said 65 years was too young an age for a Supreme Court judge to retire.



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