Govt may not recommend bringing judges' appointment under RTI

The government is unlikely to recommend bringing the process of appointment of judges to higher judiciary under RTI ambit as it apprehends it could lead to a flood of applications from aspirants and "interested parties" seeking file notings and other details.

PTI| Updated: Jan 11, 2016, 19:03 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is unlikely to recommend bringing the process of appointment of judges to higher judiciary under RTI ambit as it apprehends it could lead to a flood of applications from aspirants and "interested parties" seeking file notings and other details.

But at the same time, amid calls to make the system of appointment of members to the higher judiciary more transparent, the government is likely to include a clause that any dissent note to a recommendation of the collegium to appoint or elevate a judge should be mandatorily shared with the Executive.

Government sources said bringing the appointment and elevation process of judges to the Supreme Court and 24 high courts within the purview of the transparency law would not be practical as the collegium would be flooded with applications from those aspiring for the posts and other "interested parties".

When the Supreme Court was hearing ways to improve the collegium system, government had pressed for bringing the system of appointment under the ambit of RTI to usher in greater transparency in the appointment system.

The Chief Justice of India and members of the collegium will take a final call on the draft memorandum of procedure which the government will hand over to the CJI in the coming days.

The MoP is a roadmap on how a judge will be appointed. As of now, there are two MoPs -- one dealing with appointment of Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court and the other dealing with appointment of chief justices and other judges of high courts.

The draft MoP for appointment of members to the higher judiciary is being prepared after the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act on appointment of judges to the apex court and high courts.

The Supreme Court had recently left it to the law ministry to draft the MoP in consultation with CMs and chief justices of the 24 high courts.

The four issues highlighted by the draft MoP are transparency in the appointment process, eligibility criteria, a permanent secretariat for the collegium and a process to evaluate and deal with complaints against candidates.