government vs judiciary over judges appointment, collegium system: law minister rijiju again criticized then CJI said best, said- all is the difference of perception

New Delhi : Chief Justice of the country D.Y. Chandrachud on Saturday defended the collegium system consisting of judges appointing judges. He said that no system is perfect but this is the best system we have. The collegium system has been a major bone of contention between the central government and the judiciary. The special thing is that on the same platform on Saturday, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju criticized the collegium system and termed it as the result of ‘adventure of Congress’.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave-2023, the CJI said that if the judiciary has to remain independent, it has to be protected from outside influences. “Not every system is perfect, but this is the best system we have developed,” he said. But the objective was to secure the independence of the judiciary, which is a key point. If the judiciary is to be kept independent, then we have to keep the judiciary away from outside influences.
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The Chief Justice also responded to Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s expression of displeasure over the Supreme Court’s collegium system. The Chief Justice said, ‘What is wrong in having a difference of opinion? But, I have to deal with different perceptions in the spirit of a strong constitutional vanguard. I do not want to get involved with the Law Minister in these issues, we are bound to have different views.

‘There is no pressure from the government on the judges, the decision of the Election Commission is proof’
When CJI Chandrachud was asked about any pressure on the judges, he said that there is no pressure on them from the government as to how to decide the cases. The CJI said, ‘I have been a judge for 23 years, but no one has ever told me how to decide a case. There was no pressure from the government here. The decision of the Election Commission is proof that there is no pressure on the judiciary.
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The Supreme Court had recently ruled that the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners would be made by the President on the advice of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.

Rijiju again attacked the collegium system
Rijiju has been very vocal against the collegium system and has once called it something ‘beyond the constitution’. On Saturday also in the India Today Conclave, he criticized this system of appointment of judges. The law minister said the judiciary had no role in the appointment of judges. Rijiju said, “It happened only because of the mistakes of the Congress party and later the Supreme Court started acting in what some people termed as judicial overreach.” After that the collegium system came into existence.

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At the same time, he also said that the position of the government is very clear that the collegium system is still in force. Rijiju said, ‘Until a new system is implemented, we will follow the collegium system, but judges cannot be appointed by judicial order. It is purely administrative (decision).

Some retired judges want judiciary to play role of opposition: Rijiju
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also claimed that some retired judges and some activists, who have become ‘part of the anti-India gang’, are trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party. Rijiju said, “Among the retired judges – there are probably three or four judges and some activists who are part of the anti-India gang – these people are trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party.”

He said, ‘Some people even go to the court and say please rein in the government, please change the policy of the government. These people want the judiciary to play the role of the opposition party, which cannot be possible. However, he also added that the Indian judiciary is neutral.

(with input from language)

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