Collegium to make reasons for judge appointments, transfers public

The Supreme Court Collegium, seeking to bring in transparency to its proceedings, has decided to make public all its recommendations on the appointment, confirmation, transfer and elevation of judges. These decisions will now be uploaded on the SC's website.

''The resolution (in this regard) is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the Collegium system,'' it stated, putting up its reasons on the website.

The collegium is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and has four senior-most judges of the apex court - currently Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

The recent transfer of Justice Jayant Patel, then seniormost judge of the Karnataka High Court, to the Allahabad High Court just days before his elevation as chief justice was due, triggered angry reactions from leaders in the Bar.

Justice Patel resigned in protest following the decision last month.

The Collegium revealed reasons, including the Intelligence Bureau's observations, for the recommendations made on Thursday for the elevation of three judicial officers - S Ramathilagam, R Tharani, and P Rajamanickam - as judges of the Madras High Court.

It also disclosed how it found Vasudevan V Nadathur, judicial member, ITAT, not suitable for elevation.

In another batch of six judicial officers from Tamil Nadu, the Collegium found only three judicial officers - T Krishnavalli, R Pongiappan and R Hemalatha - suitable for appointment as judges of the Madras HC.

"The decisions henceforth taken by the collegium indicating reasons, shall be put on the website of Supreme Court, when recommendation(s) is / are sent to Government with regard to cases relating to initial elevation to High Court Bench, confirmation as permanent Judge(s) of High Court, elevation to the post of Chief Justice of High Court, transfer of High Court Chief Justices / Judges and elevation to Supreme Court, because on each occasion, the material which is considered by the collegium is different.

"The Resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the collegium system," the resolution, adopted on 3 October, said.

Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court Collegium's decision to place its decisions in the public domain, telling The Indian Express that transparency is required in the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.