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'System of judges selecting themselves to stay'

delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2009 14:46 IST
System of judges selecting themselves to stay: Bhardwaj

The procedure for appointment of judges through a panel of judges (collegium) is going to remain untouched, atleast for now.

Despite the government pondering over a review of the collegium system, criticised as "failed" and non-transparent by some experts, the government has more or less given up on modifying it.

"There is very little time left," said Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, hinting towards the ensuing elections and the limitations of considering a constitutional amendment or a judicial review of the collegium system at the fag end of the government's tenure.

The collegium system involves a panel of judges headed by the CJI which selects the judges to the higher judiciary. It came into existence in 1993 through a 30-page judgement of the Supreme Court and it replaced a mechanism in which the judges were appointed by the Executive.

The collegium system's critics feel it is a closed system in which the judges chose judges. Its supporters, however, claim it is ideal to ensure judicial postings don't become political appointments.

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, who currently heads the collegium, found nothing amiss in the existing system but said it was for the government to decide if the system needed a change.

"We are just following the Supreme Court order which is binding on us. We strictly follow the procedure prescribed in the order. Whether this should be changed is for the government and the Parliament to decide," the CJI said.