He said that the Central government cannot be accused of ‘sitting over recommendations’ made by the Collegium and the judges’ body cannot expect the government to simply sign off on all the recommendations made by it.
“There are loopholes in the Collegium and thus, people are now raising voices that the Collegium system is not transparent, there is a bit of opacity, there is no accountability. Thus, don’t say we (government) are sitting on the files but if you want to say so, then appoint judges on your own and run the show then,” Rijiju said.
The law minister further stated that the government will respect the Collegium system till it is replaced by a better system but until then, the government will do its due diligence before acting on Collegium recommendations.
“When this alien system (Collegium) was introduced, the government of that day and even we very well respect this system until and unless it is replaced with a better system. What I am saying is that as long as this system is prevailing we will respect it. But if you expect that government should merely sign every recommendation, then what is the role of the government? What does the oath due diligence would mean?” Rijiju asked.
The government, he underlined, has the apparatus to find out the background of a person and whether he or she is qualified for the judge’s job.
He was speaking at Times Now Summit on the topic ‘Shaping Indian Judiciary For India’.
The law minister maintained that the Constitution of India is a religious document for every one and especially for the Central government and anything which is alien to the Constitution, will be questioned by the government.
“The Collegium system is alien to the Constitution. You tell me which provision of the Constitution provides for this system. But because the Supreme Court in its wisdom through a court ruling or a judgment created the Collegium which recommends names, government (will do) due diligence,” he said
The Constitution empowers the Central government (through President) to appoint judges to the apex court and also to the High Courts by “consulting” the concerned Chief Justices, he underscored.