Supreme Court judge Justice Chelameswar skips collegium meet, seeks transparency in judges' appointments
The judiciary has been locked in a bitter face-off with the Centre over the appointment of judges.
New Delhi: One of the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, has stopped attending meetings of the collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India.
Justice Chelameswar did not participate in collegium's meeting on Thursday to discuss various issues including the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP).
Notably, he had earlier written a dissenting verdict with regard to non-transparency in the collegium system of appointment.
News agency PTI has quoted a highly-placed source as saying that Justice Chelameswar has written a letter to Chief Justice TS Thakur, expressing his inability to take part in the future meetings of the collegium. He has not, however, recused from the collegium.
The collegium comprises CJI TS Thakur and Justices AR Dave, JS Khehar, Dipak Misra and Chelameswar.
The Indian Express has said that in the letter, Justice J Chelameswar has sought that the SC collegium record minutes of the confidential meetings which take place to discuss appointments and transfers of judges.
It has come to light that except Justice Chelameswar, all other judges, including Justice Thakur, had assembled for the meeting on Thursday which ultimately got postponed.
The apex court judiciary and the government have been at loggerheads on the finalisation of the MoP which will deal with the procedures to be followed in the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.
Recently the Supreme Court, while hearing a PIL, had sent out a stern message to the government over non-execution of the collegium's decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges of High Courts.
It had warned the Centre that the court would not tolerate "logjam in judges' appointment" and would intervene to "fasten accountability" as the justice delivery system is "collapsing".
In his dissenting judgement, which had quashed the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th constitutional amendment, Justice Chelameswar had said that the collegium system of judges' appointment was "opaque and inaccessible" to the people at large and it needed "transparency".
He had said the assumption that "primacy of the judiciary" in the appointment of judges was a basic feature of the Constitution "is empirically flawed."
The Supreme Court judge had said that in the last 20 years, after the advent of collegium system, a number of recommendations made by the collegia of High Courts were rejected by the collegium of the Supreme Court.
(With Agency inputs)