Collegium System and Judicial Appointments: An Overview

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Jayashree Palande


The collegium system in India selects and promotes judges to the SC and HC. The CJI and a few SC justices recommend judicial appointments and transfers. The executive branch appointed members of the higher courts, raising concerns about political meddling. In 1993, the SC established the collegium system to address this issue.Under the collegium system, the CJI and other senior SC justices propose judges for the higher judiciary. After receiving recommendations, the Indian President appoints official appointments. Since only a few judges issue unreviewable recommendations, the system has been criticized for being unaccountable and opaque.In 2014, the Indian parliament approved the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, which sought to replace the collegium system with a mixed-member panel. The SC overturned the NJAC Act in 2015 because it endangered the judiciary's independence and was unconstitutional. Since then, India has largely appointed judges by collegium. However, collegium system improvements, including more accountability and transparency in judge appointment, have been debated.

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