New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday came out with a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary by asking the Centre to finalise a memorandum of procedure in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar also asked the government to look into five key aspects — eligibility criteria, transparency in appointment process, setting up of Secretariat for management of selection process, mechanism to deal with complaints against those who are being considered for appointment and to look into the miscellaneous issues. “In view of the above, the Government of India may finalize the existing MOP by supplementing it in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The CJI will take a decision based on the unanimous view of the collegium comprising the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court,” the bench said.
“The MOP may indicate the eligibility criteria, such as the minimum age, for the guidance of the collegium (both at the level of the High Court and the Supreme Court) for appointment of Judges, after inviting & taking into consideration the views of the State Government and the Government of India (as the case may be) from time to time,” it said. For ensuring transparency in the appointment process, the bench said, “The eligibility criteria and the procedure as detailed in the MoP for the appointment of Judges ought to be made available on the website of the court concerned and on the website of the Department of Justice of the Government of India.” The bench also noted that the MOP may provide for an appropriate procedure for “minuting the discussions, including recording the dissenting opinion of the Judges in the collegium while making provision for the confidentiality of the minutes consistent with the requirement of transparency in the system of appointment of judges.” The bench said that for better management of the system, the MOP may provide for establishment of Secretariat for each high court and the apex court and prescribe its func