Collegium system has completely failed: Markandey Katju

Stating that the collegium system had completely failed, Retired Justice Markandey Katju said that there should be a seven-member national judicial commission to appoint judges.

New Delhi: Stating that the collegium system had completely failed, Retired Justice Markandey Katju said here on Tuesday that there should be a seven-member national judicial commission, including the seniormost judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister and the Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, to appoint judges.

Katju also added that the seven-member judicial commission should do some scrutiny first and arrive at a consensus on judges` name.

"They should hold a meeting and it should be televised so that all people in India can see it and there is total transparency. They should call the prospective candidate and ask him questions about his earlier functioning as a High Court judge and also his personal life, as is done in the United States," Katju told a news agency.
Katju added that people have a right to know what kind of person will be appointed as a judge.

"I had said that the dominant say will be of the judiciary, government will have a say but the majority say will be of the judges. Collegium system has completely failed."

Justice Katju had earlier made sensational claims about the existence of corruption in the judiciary.

He had said, "When I came as chief justice of the Madras High Court in November 2004, this gentleman was an additional judge. I got a lot of complaints from various people that he is indulging in corruption. I went to Chief Justice of India, Justice Lahoti, and told him that this is the information I am getting for a secret IB investigation against the additional judge. So he got a secret IB inquiry made, the report corroborated my knowledge."

Justice Katju had also expressed his pain about the compromise which former chief justice Lahoti had to make in giving an extension to the corrupt judge despite an adverse Intelligence Bureau (IB) report against that judge.

"I was surprised that even after that, he was given an extension of one more year, which was not correct. When the IB report was against it, then he should not have been given any extension. A person who should not have continued, he was allowed to continue thereafter," he had said.
Both houses of Parliament had subsequently witnessed an uproar over the allegations.

The government had backed Justice Katju`s claims and also pointed fingers at the previous UPA government.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, had called for a need to improve upon the system of appointment of judges.

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