From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Collegium system
Mains level : Judiciary and associated issues
- At one stroke, the Supreme Court Collegium, led by CJI has recommended two judges’ names for elevation to the apex court.
- If the four judges are elevated without delay, the Supreme Court would reach the full sanctioned strength of 31.
Supreme Court Collegium
- The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the CJI and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
- Article 124 to 147 in Part V of the Indian Constitution envisages the powers, independence and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
- However there is no direct mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.
- This system of appointment of judges came into existence after the Third Judges Case which interpreted constitutional articles on October 28, 1998.
- The recommendations of Collegium are binding on the government.
Size of the court
- Initially the Constitution of India provided for a supreme court with a chief justice and 7 judges.
- In the early years, a full bench of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them.
- As the work of the court increased and cases began to accumulate, parliament increased the number of judges(including CJI) from the original 8 in 1950 to 11 in 1956, 14 in 1960, 18 in 1978, 26 in 1986 and 31 in 2009 (current strength).
Eligibility of a judge of the Supreme Court
A citizen of India not exceeding 65 years age as per Article 124 of the constitution is eligible to be recommended for appointment, a judge of the Supreme Court, who has been:
- a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years, or
- an advocate there, for at least ten years, or
- a distinguished jurist, in the opinion of the president, power conferred by clause(2) of article 124 of the Constitution of India