He has won one of the most important cases in his career. And he regrets it.
Noted jurist Fali S. Nariman had argued and won a case in 1993 that led to a change in the procedure for appointment and promotion of Supreme Court and high court judges. Nariman now thinks he should have lost the case which gave the control over appointment of judges to the panel of five seniormost judges in the country.
Nearly two decades after he won the crucial case in the SC, Nariman, 81, now has doubts on the wisdom and competence of the panel of judges (collegium), responsible for the appointment and promotion of judges in the higher judiciary.
In his autobiography, Before Memory Fades, the lawyer has devoted a chapter to the 1993 case. “There is one important case decided by the SC in which I appeared and won, and which I have lived to regret it… it is the decision that goes by the title — SC Advocates on Record Vs the Union of India,” Nariman writes.
Nariman has slammed the collegium system, terming it “a closed-circuit network of five judges” that should be disbanded. One of the biggest flaws in the system, according to the noted jurist is the lack of attention on the part of judges who are members of this institution.
“The problem is that not enough attention is given by successive collegiums to the important task of recommending judges, simply because the judges are busy deciding cases,” Nariman states.