Khurshid defends CJI's observation on collegium
Former law minister Salman Khurshid on Monday defended Chief Justice R.M. Lodha's observation on the present system of appointing judges.
"I think that what CJI has said we need to introspect on it. If there is a process, we need to follow that. There should be no hurry in this. There are many who think there is a need for an amendment in the procedure. But I would say even that needs to be done with a lot of care. I believe that is the indication that the Chief Justice wanted to give" said Khurshid.
Former union minister M Veerappa Moily said, "The independence of the judiciary has to be protected at any cost by any government".
Senior lawyer Sudha Ramalingam said, "There should be a national judicial commission and an examination for this process on the CJI's observation on the SC collegium
Khurshid, Moily and Ramalingam were giving their responses to Chief Justice R.M. 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)