On Collegium System Of Appointment, Ex Chief Justice TS Thakur's Advice

Former Chief Justice of India T S Thakur's remarks come against the backdrop of criticism from various quarters, including the government, about the collegium system.

On Collegium System Of Appointment, Ex Chief Justice TS Thakur's Advice

TS Thakur was the Chief Justice from December 2015 to January 2017. (File)

New Delhi:

Former Chief Justice of India T S Thakur on Saturday said criticising the collegium system for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary without coming up with an alternative "does not lead us anywhere".

His remarks come against the backdrop of criticism from various quarters, including the government, about the collegium system.

"Everyday you will read somebody saying the collegium system is not the right system. Nobody can say that the collegium system for the appointment of judges is the most perfect system but the collegium system itself can be improved as the Chief Justice recently mentioned," Mr Thakur said.

He was apparently referring to the remarks of D Y Chandrachud who was sworn in as the Chief Justice on November 9.

"I don't think anyone can possibly argue against an attempt to improve the system," Mr Thakur said at a function in the national capital.

Mr Thakur was the Chief Justice from December 2015 to January 2017.

He also mentioned about the top court striking down a constitutional amendment to bring in the National Judicial Appointments Commission to select Supreme Court and High Court judges.

The law, passed by Parliament with near unanimity sought to overturn the collegium system.

"It was tested in the court and the court found that it was compromising the independence of the judiciary... That does not mean that if there is another opportunity or if there is another way of doing the same thing... please do it by all means," he said.

"Simply criticising the system without coming up with an alternative does not lead us anywhere. These are issues, whether it is protecting federalism or the fundamental rights or secular credentials of the country, these are aspects which can be eventually be taken care of only by an independent judiciary. That is where I think the role of the judiciary and the media assumes great importance," Mr Thakur said.

Last month, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju said the people of the country are not happy with the collegium system and according to the spirit of the Constitution, it is the government's job to appoint judges.

The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four senior-most judges of the court.

It has often been dubbed by its critics as being opaque.

Speaking at the function here after former Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac delivered a lecture on 'The Challenges of Federalism: Negotiating Centre State Tensions', Mr Thakur said the federalism has been universally been a basic feature of the Indian Constitution.

"The judiciary itself may be a subject of criticism for the various failings we have for our inability to deal with cases that are piling up, the time it takes to decide matters ... But so long as there is independent judiciary and so long as the judges live up to the oath that they have administered, I am sure whether it is the issue of federalism or fundamental rights, the independence of the judiciary itself can take care of that," he said.

Mr Thakur emphasised the need for spirit of mutual accommodation for resolving conflicts. If that does not happen, the only remedy forward would be enlightening the electorate. If the process is not reversed, then then judicial intervention may be the only option, he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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