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In Defence of Supreme Court Collegium: Upholding Judicial Diversity

In Defence of Supreme Court Collegium: Upholding Judicial Diversity

The recent article in The Indian Express co-authored by Fali S Nariman raises questions about the decisions made by the Collegium regarding the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court. While it’s important to scrutinize such decisions, it’s equally crucial to understand the broader context and implications of these appointments.

The Issue of Judicial Diversity

Supreme Court Collegium
This would be of great disservice to other high courts, which have a larger sanctioned strength than the Delhi High Court, and also high courts that are presently unrepresented in the Supreme Court of India.

The Collegium plays a pivotal role in shaping the composition of the Supreme Court. However, the decision not to recommend Justice S Muralidhar for elevation should be viewed in a broader perspective. Delhi High Court already has a significant presence on the Supreme Court Bench, and appointing Justice Muralidhar would further skew this representation.

Addressing Regional Disparities

Presently, several high courts remain unrepresented in the Supreme Court, including the Rajasthan, Orissa, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Sikkim High Courts. It’s essential to ensure that judges from these high courts are appointed to maintain a balance and avoid over-representation from a single region.

A Kaleidoscope of Representation

The recent appointments in the Supreme Court reflect a desire to have representation from all states. This ensures that different regions and states have a voice in the highest court. Appointments from the Bar also contribute to a diverse and well-rounded Bench.

Beyond Geography: A Multifaceted Representation

The Supreme Court should mirror the diversity of India itself. Apart from geographic representation, factors like gender, religion, and representation of marginalized communities matter. Currently, there’s limited representation of Sikh or Christian minorities in the Supreme Court, and only a small number of women judges. It’s crucial to address these gaps to enrich the judiciary’s perspectives.

Honoring the Commitment of High Court Judges

High court judges often work under challenging conditions, dealing with a heavy caseload. Despite the lack of recognition and visibility, they uphold their constitutional oath. Their dedication to the rule of law is commendable.

Trusting the Collegium’s Expertise

The Collegium, composed of the Chief Justice of India and senior judges, carries out rigorous assessments before making appointments. While it may not openly defend its decisions, it diligently evaluates candidates’ suitability for the Supreme Court.

Upholding Democratic Values

While citizen opinions are valuable, they shouldn’t undermine the Collegium’s wisdom. Distrusting the Collegium’s decisions could weaken a vital democratic institution. The Collegium’s actions align with the Constitution’s principles and aim to maintain a robust judicial system with diverse representation.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court Collegium’s decisions should be viewed through a lens that considers geographic, demographic, and systemic factors. Balancing these elements ensures that the judiciary remains representative of India’s multifaceted society, promoting justice and fairness for all.

Source: Indian Express

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