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The shape of the Supreme Court Collegium under Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud

Under the tenure of 2 years of CJI DY Chandrachud, there will be complete change in members, with almost 11 judges expected to be part of the Collegium.

The appointment of Judges through the Collegium system has come under some amount of criticism in recent times. However, the system will be here to stay for good.

What is a Collegium System and How Did It Evolve?

It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court (SC), and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.

Who Heads the Collegium System?

The SC collegium is headed by the CJI (Chief Justice of India) and comprises four other senior most judges of the court. A HC collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other senior most judges of that court.

Names recommended for appointment by a HC collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the SC collegium. 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.

What are the Procedures for Judicial Appointments?

For CJI: The President of India appoints the CJI and the other SC judges. As far as the CJI is concerned, the outgoing CJI recommends his successor. In practice, it has been strictly by seniority ever since the supersession controversy of the 1970s.

What is Critical about the Collegium System?

  • Opaqueness and a lack of transparency.

  • Scope for nepotism.

  • Embroilment in public controversies.

  • Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.

The collegium consists of 5 senior most judges of the Supreme Court, including the CJI, it is responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges in the length and breadth of the country.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, who assumed office as the 50th Chief Justice of India on November 9, 2022, will have one of the longest tenures as CJI in the last ten years.

As a result, the Collegium during CJI Chandrachud's two-year tenure will undergo a sea change, with as many as eleven judges being part of the body at various points.

These judges are:

  • Justice SK Kaul

  • Justice S Abdul Nazeer (now retired)

  • Justice KM Joseph (now retired)

  • Justice MR Shah (now retired)

  • Justice Ajay Rastogi (now retired)

  • Justice Sanjiv Khanna

  • Justice BR Gavai

  • Justice Surya Kant

  • Justice Aniruddha Bose

  • Justice AS Bopanna

  • Justice Hrishikesh Roy

So far, the Collegium headed by CJI Chandrachud has issued 69 resolutions recommending appointments and transfers of judges.

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