CJI backs collegium system, says don`t defame judiciary
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava New Delhi: At a time when the NDA government is considering to introduce a new bill for the appointment of judges in higher courts, the Chief Justice of India on Monday expressed concerns over "misleading campaign" to defame judiciary. “For God`s sake don`t shake the people`s confidence in the judiciary,” CJI RM Lodha today said while cautioning that there is a bitter campaign to defame the judiciary. Apparently anguished over the “misleading campaign” against the judiciary, the CJI said it is doing a great damage to the judicial system. CJI Lodha also strongly backed the present collegium system for appointment of judges in higher courts while dismissing a PIL calling against it. While dismissing the plea, the CJI said, “I am from the first batch of judges who came via Collegium system and Justice Nariman is the last one to be selected through the system. If the system is imperfect? then we are imperfect.” “No one is perfect. The society is not perfect and we are from the society,” the CJI added. The reaction from the CJI comes at a time when the Press Council of India chairman and former Supreme Court judge, Markandey Katju, has highlighted the issue of corruption in judiciary through his blogs and attacked former CJIs for overlooking corruption cases involving some high profile judges. In a fresh blog posted on Sunday, Katju had alleged that a high court judge was transferred to Allahabad high court, despite having a bad reputation "about his integrity". Katju, who had recently indicated that three former Chief Justices of India (CJI) had compromised in giving extension to an additional judge of Madras high court at the instance of the UPA government, also wrote that the then CJI, SH Kapadia, knew about the Allahabad judge. In an earlier blog, Katju had trained his guns on a "corrupt judge" in Tamil Nadu who later became the additional judge of Madras high court, while pointing at his ties with an influential UPA ally, apparently the DMK. Katju had also demanded that there should be a seven-member national judicial commission, including the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister and the Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, to appoint judges. Katju had argued that the seven-member judicial commission should do some scrutiny first and arrive at a consensus on judges` name. Meanwhile, several top jurists have also pushed for scrapping the existing collegium system. The allegation triggered a huge debate, as former CJI Ramesh Chandra Lahoti contradicted Katju`s claims of writing to him on the issue. In his fresh salvo, Katju said he helped Kapadia expose the Allahabad high court judge, but no tough action was on the matter. Katju`s allegations came against the backdrop of the government considering introducing a bill that aims to set up a seven-member judicial appointment commission to replace the collegium system of appointment of judges. The commission would include three to four judges, two jurists to be nominated by the President and the law minister as members.
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