SC Collegium Finalises MoP; Agreement On Secretariat Too
By Team Legistify / 2017-03-16

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Bringing down curtain on a 17 month standoff with the Centre and also overcoming serious differences within itself, the Supreme Court collegium has finalised the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges to Supreme Court and various High Courts.As per a report in the Times of India, after arriving at a consensus on Centre’s stance that “national security” ought to be part of the criteria to determine eligibility for appointment as judges, the collegium headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar and comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B Lokur has now significantly dropped its reservation about setting up secretariats in the SC and each high court to maintain databases on judges and assist the collegiums in the SC and the high courts in selection of judges.

The newspaper quoted sources saying it was unanimously decided to set up secretariats in the apex court and each high court.

The collegium had earlier rejected the NDA government’s plea for an independent secretariat to screen the nominated judges. The collegium had said it believed that the existing mechanism – under which the personal staff of the five judges constituting the collegium deal with the issue – is good enough.

The earlier collegium headed by then Chief Justice T.S. Thakur had also resisted the NDA government’s insistence that the executive should have a veto on any candidate recommended by the collegium on the ground of “national security”, and that there should be an independent secretariat to deal with appointments and transfers.

The dispute between the collegium and the government had held up appointments to higher judiciary despite rising vacancies.

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