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Supreme Court Collegium recommends 3 for elevation as Kerala HC judges

Supreme Court Collegium recommends 3 for elevation as Kerala HC judges

The information about 13 proposals that were considered by the top court collegium was uploaded on the top court website in pursuance to its October 3 resolution to "ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the Collegium system". So far, the Supreme Court Collegium's decisions on transfers, elevation, appointments and so on were not disclosed to the public, drawing criticism from the legal fraternity.

The Supreme Court Collegium, seeking to bring in transparency to its proceedings, has decided to make public all its recommendations on the appointment, confirmation, transfer and elevation of judges.

The Collegium revealed reasons, including the Intelligence Bureau's observations, for the recommendations made on Thursday for the elevation of three judicial officers - S Ramathilagam, R Tharani, and P Rajamanickam - as judges of the Madras High Court. One justice concurred with the decision in part, but said the court's move to permanently reassign all of Griffen's cases without investigating first was too much.

Details are now available online under the tag "Collegium Resolutions". Just by making public its decisions, the opaqueness of the collegium system of appointment may not go away.

In stripping Griffen of his authority to preside over death-penalty cases, the Supreme Court said: "To protect the integrity of the judicial system, this court has a duty to ensure that all are given a fair and impartial tribunal".

Though experts view that the Supreme Court Collegium has heralded a new age of transparency by deciding to publicly reveal the names while indicating reasons for recommending or rejecting names for judicial appointment, transfer or elevation, they claim that this decision may cause acute embarrassment for those who were in the race for judgeship.

There have been critics of the collegium system who say that this method of selection of judges lacks transparency and sometimes works according to whims and fancies of some of its members.

It may be recalled here that Justice Chelameswar had refused to attend the collegium's meetings, as long as its deliberations were kept under wraps.

Subsequently, however, he had joined the rest in the consequential judgment on the collegium because it sought to improve its system. The government brought in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act in 2014 which was struck down a year later by the Supreme Court as "unconstitutional".

It asked the legislature to consider alternate modes of execution. The PIL sought quashing of section 354 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that when a person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.

He also said that "in his personal life and his capacity as a pastor", he has expressed his personal religious and moral views on the death penalty, and that he has participated in prayer vigils as a means of exercising his religious expression.

In other words, this may include the right of a dying man to also die with dignity when his life is ebbing out'.

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