Judges do not need certificates from anybody, says Supreme Court

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Judges do not need certificates from anybody, the Supreme Court today said while rejecting a PIL seeking setting up of a “public body”, independent of the executive and judiciary, to ensure fair appointment of judges in High Courts and the apex court.

“We don’t need a certificate from anyone on earth,” a bench comprising justices Arun K Mishra and U U Lalit said.

The observation came when it was alleged that there has been nepotism in the appointment of judges in High Courts and the apex court.

The bench disagreed with the plea of National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms that a body independent of executive and judiciary to select Judges to the higher judiciary was needed, as those talented amongst a vast majority of lawyers were never considered by the collegium for selection as Judges.

“We are dismissing it. We see no merit in this petition …Your ideas may be good or bad, we are not commenting. But what all you are asking cannot be done without quashing certain constitutional provisions,” the bench said.

When advocates Mathew J Nedumpara and A C Philip, appearing for the lawyers’ body, referred to the ongoing vetting by the Centre of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) to govern judges’ appointments, the bench said “we will not comment on MoP. Can a proposed MoP be questioned? Let it be crystallised. Let it come out …then we will see”.

The bench said the setting up of such a body would amount to amending the Constitution which cannot be done by the apex court.

The lawyers’ body has contended that an independent judge selection body was needed to end the alleged control of the “elite section” over judiciary.

The selection of kith and kin of serving and former judges and senior advocates as Judges in higher judiciary should and must stop, the lawyers’ body said in its plea.

The PIL has alleged that the “common deserving lawyers” are usually not considered for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary and only those close to the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts or politicians or big industrial houses got chosen.

The PIL has also alleged that the existing system has appointed the “kith and kin of sitting and former Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, their juniors, celebrated lawyers, Chief Ministers, Governors and a few first generation lawyers who are all politically connected or are close to big industrial houses.”

The plea also said there was no effective mechanism to address complaints of misconduct against judges.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2012 introduced in Parliament, remained in “cold storage” as the judges were not “forthcoming to welcome” it, the PIL has claimed.

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