Judiciary and executive on verge of collision

While the collegium system of appointment of judges may not be a perfect one, it should not be used as an excuse by the executive to indulge in inordinate delay in clearing the names recommended by the judiciary. The executive and the political class may have strong views about the age-old convention and may, justifiably, feel the need for demystifying and reforming the collegium system to make it more transparent and free from bias, but what is worrying now is that the disagreement on this issue is setting the NDA government on a collision course with the judiciary. The latest observations by the Supreme Court on the appointment of judges reflect the growing frustration over the approach of the central government. The apex court has expressed anguish over the delay by the Centre in clearing the names recommended by the collegium for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary, saying it “effectively frustrates” the method of appointment. Over the past few months, the union government appears to be at loggerheads with the judiciary over the issue. While Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and former CJI UU Lalit have defended the collegium, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju made some uncharitable remarks which have angered the judges. In the process, the delay in the appointment of judges is adversely impacting judicial work. A two-member SC bench said they were being “patient,” despite the apparent “defiance” by the government. The union minister has made the matters worse by daring the apex court to go ahead and appoint judges “on your own and run the show.”