SC collegium fails to send judges' names

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On October 15 in 2015, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down the NDA governments National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Act, that was envisaged to replace the controversial 24-year-old collegium system of judges appointing judges. As a result, this delayed the proposal on appointment of Justice K M Joseph. This is the collegium's second meeting to firm up its response to the centre's decision that has set up a face-off between the judiciary and the executive and has been described as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

This was despite the fact that while recommending him in January, the resolution signed by five collegium members had stated that they found Justice K.M. Joseph to be "more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of high courts for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court of India".

It was being pointed out that by posing himself as the sole defender of the principle of transparency within the collegium, he has always unwittingly portrayed its other four members as being against transparency. On Wednesday, there was a detailed discussion in the collegium but sources said no unanimity was reached on names that could be recommended for appointment as SC judges.

The meeting mainly centred around names from the high courts of Calcutta, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and the Northeast for elevation to the Supreme Court.

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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court website crashed yesterday as well, so the Collegium decision could not be uploaded in the evening.

When the collegium finally formalises its reiteration of Justice Joseph and sends the file back to the government, the latter would be bound by the collegium's decision.

There are now seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, with two more vacancies likely to arise in the next two months, due to the retirement of Justices J. Chelameswar on June 22, and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on July 6.

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