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SC refuses to review 1993 order that paved the way for Collegium system

Prior to the verdict, the the executive had primacy in the appointment and transfer of judges

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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The Supreme Court, in an in-chamber decision, has dismissed a plea seeking review of its 9-judge bench historic verdict of 1993 by which the Collegium system of judges appointing judges came into force and the earlier practice of the Executive exercising that power was done away with.

A three judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and N V Ramana, considered the review petition of the Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Reforms and Transparency (NLCJRT) and dismissed it by saying "no case for review of the impugned judgment has been made out".

"There is an inordinate delay of 9071 days (over 24 years) in filing the instant petition, for which no satisfactory explanation has been offered by the petitioners.

"Thus, though the present petition is liable to be dismissed on the ground of delay itself, yet we have carefully gone through the review petition and the papers connected therewith," said the order, which was uploaded on the apex court's website on Wednesday.

"We are satisfied that no case for review of the impugned judgment has been made out. The review petition is accordingly dismissed, both on the ground of delay, as well as, on merits," it said.

The bench had heard and decided the matter in an in-chamber proceedings on October 16.

Lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, the president of the NLCJRT, said that the plea had asked the top court to restore the pre-1993 position under which the final authority on appointments and transfers of judges of the and high courts vested with the Centre.

Under Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution, the President is empowered to appoint and transfer judges in higher judiciary in consultation with the CJI.

The nine judge bench judgement, also known as the second judges case, held that the expression "consultation" means the mandatory "concurrence" of the Chief Justice of India.

Prior to the verdict, the the executive had primacy in the appointment and transfer of judges.

Later, in 1998, on a Presidential reference, another nine-judge bench of the upheld the 1993 judgment and introduced the collegium system of appointment of judges where the collegium led by the CJI had the primacy.

A five judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, in 2015, struck down the Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) and the Constitutional amendment meant to replace the present collegium system.

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 20:45 IST
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