Narendra Modi government attacks collegium system in Supreme Court

New Delhi(PTI): The Centre on Wednesday sharply criticised the erstwhile collegium system of appointing judges saying that it did not follow the principle of meritocracy in which many “undeserving” persons became judges, some of whose names it gave in the Supreme Court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was on Tuesday asked to give a list of “bad appointments of judges” made under the collegium system, today gave seven to eight names of judges who were appointed despite adverse reports from the Intelligence Bureau.

He claimed that when the collegium insisted on such recommendations, the Centre was bound to accept them.

“The collegium did not follow the principle of meritocracy in appointing judges and hence, many undeserving persons got appointed as judges,” Rohatgi told a five-judge bench headed by Justice JS Khehar hearing petitions challenging the validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act.

“In 2013, the proposal of appointing a judge was dropped. Then, why should the Chief Justice of India revive the same proposal before demitting the office. I say how and why it was done.

“The proposal was earlier opposed by two judges of this court long back. Then why was it revived. I am just responding to a short query,” he said to a bench which also comprised justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel.

On the plea that the appointments were insisted upon by the collegium, the bench said, “You (Centre) had all the means. What was the IB doing. It is not the job of the IB to choose a man of choice…”.