Judiciary's present collegium system not working well: Retired Justice Ganguly
Retd Justice A K Ganguly said that he felt the present system of appointing judges through the collegium is not doing well, as the right candidate is not always picked.
"The present system of appointment of judges has given rise to several controversies. The best candidates are always not picked for several reasons. Therefore, the previous government was trying to introduce different systems," Justice Ganguly told ANI.
Ganguly was reacting to Chief Justice of India, R M Lodha's strong defence of the collegium system of appointing judges.
Calling the present system "opaque", Ganguly added, "You cannot maintain the image of the judiciary by constantly sweeping the allegations against the judiciary under the carpet. You cannot do it by hushing up things", said Ganguly.
Justice Ganguly was giving his response to Chief Justice R.S. Lodha's strong criticism of a misleading campaign to defame the judiciary, and warned that great damage was being done to the institution and to democracy.
Dismissing a public interest litigation to declare the decision of the collegium to recommend the name of Karnataka High Court judge, Justice K. L. Manjunath as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court as non-binding, Chief Justice Lodha, who was presiding over an apex court bench that was hearing the PIL, said, "There is a misleading campaign going across to defame the judiciary and repeated attempts have been made to spread incorrect information."
The PIL that was filed by Ram Shankar had sought that in future all recommendations of the collegiums on appointment of judges should be put on the apex court website.
At the outset of the hearing, Chief Justice Lodha asked, "Who told you that his (Manjunath) name has been recommended for elevation. Because I am the Chief Justice and I head the collegium, I am not sure and I don't know whether there is any other collegiums."
He further said that "the collegium never recommended the name of Manjunath" and there is some misleading campaign going on.
"Don't shake people's confidence in judiciary. For God's sake don't try to defame judiciary," said Chief Justice Lodha, who was heading a bench that included Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman.
"After all judges too come from the same society. But to carry on a campaign just because of allegations against one or two judges is unfair," he said.
He also said he was one of the first products of collegium system and Nariman, who is sitting along with him, is the latest one to be elevated as apex court judge following the collegium system.
"If you say that the system has failed, then its products have also failed. If you say so, we have also failed and everybody has failed. All judges at present are the products of collegium system," the Chief Justice said.
(Posted on 11-08-2014)