Justice Lokur ‘Disappointed’ With Collegium’s Decision Change

The retired judge said he was disappointed at SC Collegium’s decision on elevation of judges not being made public.

2 min read

Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Madan B Lokur on Wednesday, 23 January expressed disappointment over not bringing to public domain the 12 December decision of the apex court's Collegium on the elevation of judges, which has been at the centre of controversy.

Justice (Retd) Lokur, who demitted office on 30 December, 2018, was part of the 5-member Collegium deliberations which had reportedly agreed to recommend the names of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon to the Supreme Court.

Later, however, Delhi High Court judge Sanjiv Khanna and Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice Dinesh Maheshwari were elevated as apex court judges, triggering a public debate on the issue.

On the controversy around the purported change in the decision, Justice Lokur said he did not know as to what additional documents came after his retirement.

Speaking at an interaction in New Delhi on 'State of the Indian Judiciary', organised by a law portal, the former judge however rubbished the claim of nepotism in the judiciary.

Justice Lokur said he didn’t think that the Collegium system has failed.

Healthy discussions take place at the Collegium meetings and agreements and disagreements are part of it, he said, adding that the discussions are confidential and trust is the important factor.

He advocated time-bound decisions on the recommendations of the Collegium by the Executive, saying that in the event of no response from the government, the recommendations can be deemed to be accepted.

He said there is a need to bring some changes in the Collegium system and some mechanism has to be there for adhering to time line in judicial appointments,

Justice Lokur then referred to the case of Justice K M Joseph's elevation to the Supreme Court and alleged that the government sat on the files for months.

Neither judiciary nor government can sit on files on appointment of judges, he said.

On the controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Supreme Court and meeting Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi during a function recently, Justice Lokur said there was nothing wrong in it.

He added however that judges should stay away from the political thicket and they should neither be hermits nor sitting in ivory towers.

On the January 12, 2018, unprecedented presser held by four senior judges, including him and CJI Gogoi, against the functioning of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, he said it was worth holding and it achieved something.

The January 12 presser brought some openness in the functioning of Supreme Court, he added.

He further said evidence of corruption needs to be taken into account before elevation of judges.

Though Justice Lokur accepted that sometimes the judiciary had over stepped, he refused to agree that it has over reached.

He said there were large number of issues needed to be discussed for better functioning of judiciary.

Justice Lokur declined to comment on the functioning of Justice Gogoi as the CJI.

He however said that if allegations are levelled against any judge or the CJI then it troubles him.

He said he would not take up any government assignment.

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