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Supreme Court Judges Appointment- UPSC Current Affairs

May 21, 2022

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Why in the News?

Probable Question 

Key Points

About Appointment of Supreme Court Judges



Role of Government in Collegium System

Supreme Court Judges Appointment

Why in the News?

Recently, the Gauhati High Court Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Gujarat High Court Judge Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala were appointed as Supreme Court judges.

Probable Question 

Discuss the efficacy of Collegium System in appointment of judges of the Supreme Court.

Key Points

About Appointment of Supreme Court Judges

  • The procedure to appoint judges to the Supreme Court of India is listed under clause 2 of Article 124 of the country’s Constitution.


  • When a vacancy for the post of a Supreme Court judge arises, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) sends his recommendation to the Union Law Minister. 
  • The CJI decides on his recommendation in consultation with a collegium of the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. 
  • If the CJI’s successor is not among the senior-most judges, he/she will be made a part of the Collegium.
  • In case the person being considered for the post of the judge is from a High Court, the CJI takes into account the view of the Collegium member who may have worked in the same High Court. 
    • If this situation does not apply, the CJI can consult the next senior-most judge in the Supreme Court from the High Court in question.
  • The opinions of all Collegium members about each of the recommended candidates are given in writing and made part of the record. 
  • The opinion of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court from the same High Court as the prospective candidate is also included. 
  • The CJI’s opinion is recorded along with the opinion of all concerned and sent to the Government of India.
  • The Union Law Minister presents the CJI’s final recommendation to the Prime Minister, who then advises the President of India in appointing the Supreme Court judges.
  • The appointment is announced by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Justice once the warrant of appointment is signed by the President of India. 

Enhance your UPSC CSE preparation with our Daily Current Affairs video by Vishakah Dagur, our Current Affairs faculty:


  • To be a Supreme Court judge, a person must necessarily be a citizen of India and must have either been a judge of a High Court or two or more such courts in succession for at least five years or must have been an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession for at least ten years.
Collegium System

It is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution. 

The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other senior-most judges of the court.

A High Court collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other senior-most judges of that court. Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reach the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.

Evolution of Collegium System:

The collegium system has its genesis in a series of judgments called “Judges Cases”. The collegium came into being through interpretations of pertinent constitutional provisions by the Supreme Court in the Judge’s Cases.

First Judges Case (1981): It declared that the “primacy” of the CJI’s recommendation on judicial appointments and transfers can be refused for “cogent reasons.” The ruling gave the Executive primacy over the Judiciary in judicial appointments for the next 12 years.

The Second Judges Case (1993): It introduced the Collegium system, holding that “consultation” really meant “concurrence”. It added that it was not the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior-most judges in the Supreme Court.

Third Judges Case (1998): On a Presidential Reference the Supreme Court expanded the Collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues.

Role of Government in Collegium System

Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.

  • The Government’s role is limited to getting an inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) if a lawyer is to be elevated as a judge in a High Court or the Supreme Court. 
  • It can also raise objections and seek clarifications regarding the collegium’s choices, but if the collegium reiterates the same names, the Government is bound, under Constitution Bench judgments, to appoint them as judges.
Constitutional Provisions:

Appointment of JudgesJudges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are appointed by the President under Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Constitution. 

The President is required to hold consultations with such of the judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts as he may deem necessary.

Article 217: Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and, in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court.

News Source: The Hindu

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