Supreme Court Collegium may consider social factors when appointing judges: Minister of Justice

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No deliberate delay in judicial appointments, says Kiren Rijiju.

The Supreme Court panel should give preference to women, backward classes (BC), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) while recommending names for the appointment of judges, the Minister of Justice said on Thursday. Justice Kiren Rijiju to the Rajya Sabha.

He pointed out that the court had, for the first time, four female judges out of a total sanctioned complement of 34 judges. And in the High Courts, 83 women were judges against the sanctioned complement of 1,098.

“…we have repeatedly insisted, and personally I have also requested the Collegium…that while recommending names for appointment as judges, preference should be given to women and persons from backward classes, SC and ST,” Mr. Rijiju said in response to a follow-up question.

The appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges was made under Sections 124, 217 and 224 of the Constitution which did not provide for any reservation for any caste or class of people, he said.

“No judicial reserve”

“There is no reservation in the judicial system. But efforts are being made to create better representation,” Mr Rijiju later tweeted, sharing a video of his response to Rajya Sabha.

Responding to a question from Prasanna Acharya of Biju Janata Dal on pending approvals of names that have been recommended by the college, he observed that there was no “deliberate delay”.

“The government must exercise due diligence when appointing judges, because when appointing judges, we must ensure that he is fit to be a judge in court. Its very important. And then all the cases that come to us have to go through a process,” he noted, adding that while some of the names were with the college, others were with the government at different stages of the process.

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