More transparency sought in collegium meetings

chela-696x464Justice J Chelameswar, the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, has urged the authorities involved in the process of selection of high court judges to place their assessment on record to make the whole exercise more transparent.

A proper performance assessment of high court judges for elevation to the top court is hardly done, he said while speaking during a panel discussion titled ‘The Indian Higher Judiciary: Issues and Prospects’.

“What exactly goes on in collegium meetings and what is the nature of assessment undertaken at the time of choosing a particular name is required to be a little more transparent. An assessment of the performance of a high court judge, I am talking about elevation to the Supreme Court, is hardly done. Generally, the assessment goes by impression,” Justice Chelameswar reportedly said.

During a discussion on reforms required in the apex court, the judge on a lighter note said with the sanctioned strength of the top court being 31 judges, each state will stake its claim for a seat in the top court.

“The Supreme Court’s sanctioned strength is 31. The moment you create the Supreme Court with 31 judges, the first thing that happens in this country is that every state believes that it is entitled to a seat in it,” he was quoted as saying.

The panel discussion followed the release of a book ‘Appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of India: Transparency, Accountability and Independence’.

About the need for a permanent constitution bench, Justice Chelameswar reportedly said the matter required a re-look.

“It requires a re-look at the jurisdiction of the court. I do not think Dr Ambedkar would have ever dreamt that the Supreme Court would one day hear bail applications. The manner in which the jurisdiction of this court expanded added to the problem. This court was to decide only constitutional issues,” PTI quoted him as saying.