‘Favouritism, Casteism’: Judge Accuses Collegium Over Appointments

Pandey said, “The appointment of judges takes place behind closed doors and over cups of tea.”

2 min read
Allahabad High Court judge Rang Nath Pandey.

Allahabad High Court judge Rang Nath Pandey has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging “opaqueness, favouritism and Casteism” in the appointment of judges to higher courts, according to Bar & Bench.

The letter dated 1 July, highlights the flaws in the collegium system, with Pandey asserting that in his 34 years of experience, the only prevalent criteria for appointment of judges through the collegium is casteism and nepotism.

Terming the process unfortunate, Pandey said, “The appointment of judges takes place behind closed doors and over cups of tea… and favouritism is the only relevant factor for appointments,” according to Hindustan Times.

Questioning the opaqueness of the process, Pandey alleged that the names of the selected judges are disclosed only after the entire process is completed.

Further, Pandey alleged that the practice of keeping the procedure a secret, violates the principles of democracy, according to Bar and Bench.


'Discourages Capable Advocates From Humble Backgrounds'

Pandey alleged that when the appointment of the relatives of some senior judges to the high court fails, they are appointed in the subordinate judiciary.

He also criticised the Supreme Court's 2015 judgment, rejecting the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act which sought to give transparency in the appointment of judges to the highest courts.

Invoking the 2018 press conference of the four Supreme Court judges against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Pandey said, “The event muddled the judiciary's image,” according to Hindustan Times.

Concluding his letter, Pandey iterated that the loopholes in the practice discourages capable advocates from humble backgrounds, urging PM Modi to establish a system which facilitates even a person from an ordinary background to become the Chief Justice of India with hard work and determination.

According to Hindustan Times, Supreme Court lawyer Viplav Sharma termed Pandey's letter “extraordinary,” as the judges usually exercise restraint from criticising their own.

(With inputs from Bar & Bench and Hindustan Times.)

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