In the second Judges case, the SC reinterpreted the provision of appointment of judges. It said that “Consultation” by the President of Indian with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) actually means “Concurrence” with the views of CJI and the 2 senior most judges
It has been in news recently because of the debate around National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) and the controversies surrounding judges’ transfer and reports of corruption in judiciary
Significance 1. The case evolved the collegium system which was further solidified in the Third Judges Case 2. It was in line with the directive principle under Article 50, which calls for the state to strive towards separaton of judiciary from executive 3. It protected judiciary from political interference, and frequent transfer of judges after every election.
Criticism 1. The ruling went against the SC’s own observations in the First Judges case which upheld that consulatation of the president does not mean being forced to stick to the views 2. The move was seen as keeping judiciary above the legislative and executive, which runs counter to the basic tenets of Constitution, which calls for equality amongst the 3 organs 3. It was used to delegitimise the creation of NJAC , which was seen as a breakthrough proposal to restore the equality 4. Excessive independence has brought to light instances of corruption, nepotism, internal rivalries and delay in decision making
The SC’s decision to call for public opinion to reform the collegium system is a welcome green shoot. The more transparent, accountable and organised it becomes, the more our democracy progresses