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Supreme Court lawyers welcome abolishment of collegium system to appoint judges
A landmark bill to overturn the collegium system to appoint judges in High Court and Supreme Court was passed unanimously by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill, 2014 has the provision of constituting a six member panel to appoint judges form now onwards.
The Chief Justice of India will head the NJAC. Along with CJI, the committee would be represented by two senior judges of the Supreme Court, two eminent personalities and the Union law minister. Senior lawyers have expressed their happiness over setting up National Judicial Appointments Commission for judges' appointments. The senior lawyers feel that the old collegium system was biased.

MN Krishnamani, a senior counsel practising at the Supreme Court, who is also a former president of Supreme Court Bar Association, backed the government's decision to abolish collegium system.

While counting various demerits of the collegium system, Krishnamani said, "I am also against this collegium system personally, because the collegium system shows favoritism, is biased an totally ignores the real merit of the candidates. The preference is given to the kins of judges or their siblings, and others are not considered. And another thing is, in collegium system no criteria has been laid down for the selection of judges. Those people who are brilliant, they are not even being considered by the judges, they look only for their relatives, or those who were their ex-juniors, this was the major defect in the collegium system."

While speaking about the NJAC he expressed his unhappiness while saying that there is no criteria indicated even in this new system for the selection of new judges. He wants government to come out with proper advertisement in newspaper regarding the vacancy of judges.

"The present system which was introduced in the parliament yesterday, is comparatively better than the older one. But even in this system, no criteria has been indicated. For the selection of judges, the panel should first give an advertisement in the newspaper, so that prospective lawyers can apply for the judge's post. A search committee should be there which will select some names out of those applications, according to a particular criteria. Then the larger committee should come into picture and take the final decision."

KC Kaushik, a three time General Secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association and former Additional Solicitor General of India in High Court of Judicature at Allahabad feels that the collegium system was biased.

KC Kaushik said, "As far as the collegium system is concerned, that has been totally uncalled for, as its a biased system of selection of judges. When the black sheeps are there, and if corrective measures are not taken at the right time, then the entire system will collapse. It will collapse the whole democracy in the country, and their will be no difference between us and Pakistan then."

When asked to comment about the new system of selection of judges through NJAC, he said, "As far as new system is concerned, until and unless that is implemented we will not be in a position to judge it. But I think it will be better than the present system."

Ashok Aggarwal, a Supreme Court lawyer and a social activist while reacting to the new system of judges' appointment supported the abolishment of collegium system.

He said, "It's a right step taken by the government, because there were chances of picking up the favorites (in collegium system). We were demanding to abolish this collegium system for long but it didn't happen. Finally the government has taken this decision now, and I am with the decision. And about the new system, we need to wait and see how it works."

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