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Collegium System for Appointment of Judges; Explained in 2 minutes

The Collegium System is a system in which the Chief Justice of India and four senior most Supreme Court judges deliberate on promotions and elevations of judges and lawyers to the Supreme Court and High Courts, as well as transfers of judges to High Courts and the Apex Court.


-The principle of judicial independence is enshrined in India's Constitution. The President, on the other hand, is in charge of appointing judges to the High Court and the Supreme Court, with the support and recommendation of the council of ministers. Such recommendations will direct the President's actions. On the surface, it seems that the Executive appoints judicial seats, leaving the courts without independence.

-In this respect, the constitution also contains a condition relating to the appointment of judges to the high courts and the supreme court. Before naming a judge of the same court, the President is required by Article 124 (2) to contact the judges of the court. However, the ‘consultation' did not tie the president in the same manner as the council of ministers does, and the president's authority to nominate judges prior to 1973 was only a formality, with the decisions made on behalf of the executive government.

Limitations of the Collegium System

-The essence of democracy is jeopardized as judges nominate judges.

-If the founders of the Constitution have seen the merits of this scheme, they would have stated it in the Constitution. The collegium, on the other hand, is a term established by the judiciary for the judiciary.

-According to the Law Commission's report, the Collegium System is plagued by rampant nepotism and personal patronage. That a favor is done in return for a favor, and that a judge's son will eventually become a judge.

National Judicial Appointments Commission (What it was and Why it wasn't a fit alternative)

-The Indian parliament thought that the collegium structure lacked accountability and openness, so in August of 2014, the 99th amendment to the Indian constitution established the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The NJAC has a total of 6 members: the Chief Justice of India will serve as its Chairperson, two other senior most Supreme Court judges will serve as members, the Central Law Minister will serve as an ex officio member, and two eminent persons from India will serve as other members (selected by a committee consisting of the CJ of the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister of India, and the Opposition Leader in the Lok Sabha).

-Reasons for Scrapping:

The constitutionality of the aforementioned NJAC was called into question, and the 4:1 ruling declared the NJAC unconstitutional. The majority opinion was that the question of nomination is inextricably linked to the judiciary's independence as envisioned in Article 50 and throughout the Republic of India's constitutional past and functioning.