Judges alone should not choose colleagues: MPs panel

Source: http://www.hindu.com

New Delhi (PTI): Judges alone should not choose their colleagues but there should be a role for the Executive in judicial appointment, a Parliamentary Committee said on Tuesday, suggesting that the selection process be made public and transparent.

"The committee calls upon the ministry to come forward with an alternative like the pre-1993 arrangement by involving the executive, instead of allowing the judiciary alone to choose the judges," chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice, E M S Natchiappan, said in a report presented in the Rajya Sabha.

"The aspirants' names, merit and selection process should be made public and transparent, through the High Court and Supreme Court website.

"The Report, at various levels in Departments of Justice and Home and other stages, should be on the website of their department till the final stage of issuing warrant of appointment," the Committee said.

Describing the prevailing system as "against democratic principles", the panel said "The closed system prevailing now is not getting meritorious persons called to the Bench. Transparency, inclusiveness and merit should be the way of appointing judges."

Asking the Ministry of Law and Justice to take immediate steps to fill vacancies of judges in Supreme Court and High Courts, Natchiappan said "The failure to fill up judicial vacancies promptly could not be shielded or defended in the name of judicial independence."

The panel said the government amend the Constitution to raise the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65, at par with the retirement age of Supreme Court judges.