New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Pressing for transparency in the appointment of judges, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Monday said the collegium system needs to be revisited.
“These days the issue most discussed in the country is corruption. There was a time when all talk of corruption was related only to the executive – politicians and bureaucrats. No one talked of corruption in the judiciary, certainly not in the higher judiciary,” Advani wrote in his blog titled ‘The collegium system of judicial appointments needs to be revisited’.
“Things have changed in recent years,” he said.
Judges are at present appointed by the chief justice of India and four most senior judges, known as the collegium.
Advani recalled the Emergency and credited the Allahabad High Court for its judgment of June 1975 which not only struck down Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha as invalid but also barred her from contesting any election for six years.
He termed the Emergency as “a sinister bid…by those in power to see that democracy as conceived by our constitution makers was brought to an end.”
Advani also recalled the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), saying that as many as 19 high court judges were transferred because they admitted petitions against the act.
“I often wonder how the judiciary would react today to a situation similar to that which arose in June 1975. Would as many as nineteen judges of High Courts muster courage to invite the wrath of the Executive by deciding in favour of MISA detenus? I frankly doubt it,” he said.
Former chief justice of India Justice J.S. Verma, he wrote, had said in an interview that “some kind of rethink is required”.
“We are the world’s largest democracy which naturally expects that in so far as appointments to high judicial offices are concerned there must be transparency, fairness and a merit based system,” Advani added.