SUPREME COURT ADVOCATES-ON-RECORD ASSOCIATION AND ANR. v. UNION OF INDIA
The adjudication on the merits of the controversy, raised in this batch of cases, was rendered on 16th October, 2015, wherein a separate “Order of the Court” was also recorded. In paragraph 5 of the Order of the Court, it was decided to consider the incorporation of additional appropriate measures, if any, for an improved working of the “collegium system”. For the above purpose, hearing was fixed for (and commenced on) 3rd November, 2015. Submissions were advanced freely, solely with the objective of introducing measures in the prevailing “collegium system” of appointment of Judges to the higher judiciary, which in the perception of the counsels, would improve the working of the system. Suggestions from the stakeholders, Bar Council of India, Counsels were asked to be made in 4 categories which were Transparency, Collegium Secretariat, Eligibility Criteria and Complaints. People were also allowed to post their suggestions on the website of Department of Justice, Ministry of law & Justice, New Delhi till a certain time on a date. The compilation in the form of Summary of the suggestions which consisted of 11,500 pages was presented in the Court. Since the task was for something better in the system so it was taken with full determination and excitement. It was submitted by the Attorney General that this Court neither had the expertise nor the wherewithal for proposing amendments in the existing Memorandum of Procedure (drawn on 30th June, 1999 by the Government of India), for improving the collegium system which was listed in the Second Judges case. It was also submitted that the views expressed by this court will enable the government to introduce amendments to the law related to the appointment of the judges. We were also informed that the memorandum of procedure and introducing amendments had always been prepared by the Government of India in consultation with the President and the Chief Justice of India. In view of the case the Government of India may finalize the existing memorandum of procedure by Supplementing it with the Chief Justice f India who will then abide the unanimous decision of the 4 Senior most judges of the Supreme Court on the basis of the consideration which will consist of Eligibility Criteria, Transparency, Secretariat, Complaints and Miscellaneous. These guidelines are just broad suggestions for consideration and supplementing the memorandum of procedure for the faithful implementation of the principles laid down in the Second Judges case and the Third Judges case.