Appointment of Judges

Why in NEWS

On Monday (08.01.2024), India’s Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud announced that in order to consider a petition to abolish the collegium system of judicial appointments, a Supreme Court bench would need to be assembled.

Historical background

India adopted the Constitution in 1950, following its independence. The Chief Justice of India and the other Supreme Court justices were appointed by the President, in accordance with the Constitution, up until 1973. The President conferred with the CJI and additional judges as needed.

1. CJI’s appointment from 1950 to 1973

  • There was consensus between the Indian Chief Justice and the ruling government up until 1973.
  • There was a convention established that the Chief Justice of India would be chosen from among the Supreme Court’s senior judges.
  • A.N. Ray was named Chief Justice of India in 1973.
    • This went against the earlier convention that was established when Justice A.N. Ray replaced three senior Supreme Court justices.
  • Once more in 1977, a chief justice was appointed who exceeded his predecessors.
  • •As a result, there was conflict between the Judiciary and the Executive.

2. The 1982 First Judges Case

  • In 1982, a petition was submitted to the Indian Supreme Court.
  • This case is referred to as the First Judges case or the S.P. Gupta case.
  • Throughout the course of this case, the Supreme Court addressed two important issues.
  • When asked if “consultation” in constitutional article 124 meant “concurrence,” the Indian Supreme Court rejected this argument, ruling that consultation does not imply concurrence.
    • The Supreme Court’s advice was not required in order for the President to make a decision.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling that a High Court Judge may be transferred to any other state high court even—and this was a crucial point in the case.

3. The 1993 Second Judges’ Case

  • The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCARA) filed a second petition in 1993.
  • In this instance, the Supreme Court reversed its previous decision and defined concurrence as the new meaning of consultation.
    • Consequently, the Chief Justice of India must consult with the President of India.
  • As a result, the Collegium System was established.

4. Third Judges Case, 1998:

  • In 1998, the President made a request to the Supreme Court regarding the interpretation of the term “consultation” as it appears in articles 124, 217, and 222 of the Constitution.
    • During the consultation process, the chief justice won’t be the only participant.
  • A collegium consisting of four of the Supreme Court’s most senior judges would consult. The CJI will not recommend the opinion to the government, even if two of the judges disagree.
  • The Collegium System, as it is currently known, was established by the Supreme Court in its ruling, which established stringent rules for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and lower courts.

The gist of the Third Judges case:

Appointment of Supreme Court Judge

Appointment of High Court Judge

Transfer of High Court Judge

4 senior-most judges of the Supreme court

2 senior-most judges of the Supreme court

4 senior-most judges of the Supreme court along with the judges of the two High Courts in concern.

5. Collegium

In India refers to the system used for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary, specifically the Supreme Court and High Courts

  • An informal but powerful body responsible for recommending appointments and transfers of judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • No specific mention in the Constitution, evolved through Supreme Court judgments (Second Judges’ Case and Third Judges’ Case).
  • Composition:
    • Supreme Court Collegium: Chief Justice of India (CJI) and four senior-most judges.

6. National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014:

In October 2015, a five-judge Constitution Bench ruled that the Constitutional (Ninety-Nine Amendment) Act, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC) were unconstitutional, citing the 1993 judgement as support.

  • The NJAC would also suggest candidates for the positions of Supreme Court judge and High Court judge, as well as for their appointment and transfer.
  • Members of NJAC
  1. The Indian Chief Justice
  2. The two Supreme Court judges with the highest rank
  3. India’s Minister of Law
  4. Two distinguished members selected by the Selection Committee

The current system of appointment of SC judges

  • In judicial appointments, it is obligatory for the President to take into account the opinion of the CJI.
  • The opinion of the CJI is binding on the Government. The opinion of the CJI must be formed after due consultation with a collegium of at least four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
  • Even if two judges give an adverse opinion, then he should not send the recommendation to the Government.

Prelims Bulletins

1. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM): EUROPEAN UNION

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), often referred to as the carbon border tax, is a complex and evolving policy with significant implications for global trade and climate action. Here’s a deeper dive into its key aspects:


  • A levy on certain imported goods based on the estimated amount of carbon emissions embodied in their production.
  • Aims to address carbon leakage, where companies shift production to countries with weaker environmental regulations to avoid carbon costs.
  • Currently applies to imports of iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, and hydrogen.
  • The list might expand in the future.


  • Launched in October 2023, it’s currently in a transitional phase.
  • Importers only need to report emissions during this period.
  • Full application with actual levies starts in 2026.

2. Viksit Bharat Yatra

Viksit Bharat Yatra is a nationwide campaign launched by the Indian government in 2023 to promote awareness of the government’s welfare schemes and to achieve saturation of these schemes across the country. The campaign aims to reach out to all sections of the society, including the poor, the marginalized, and the rural population.

  • The campaign is being implemented by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with state governments and non-governmental organizations.
  • The campaign is being implemented by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with state governments and non-governmental organizations.

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