New Delhi: Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal Monday said that the present collegium system of appointment of judges was “opaque” and “non-transparent”, but nothing could be done to change it overnight.
“Present (collegium) system of appointment of judges is opaque and non-transparent,” Sibal said in his informal interaction with media persons soon after assuming the charge of the law ministry, given to him as an additional responsibility after the resignation of Ashwani Kumar.
“Appointment to the higher judiciary must be through transparent process, which ensures that persons of impeccable integrity and high competence are appointed,” Sibal said, adding that there are short-term and long-term objectives to achieve it.
For achieving the short term objectives, Sibal said, “We need to have consultations with the judiciary.” For the long term, “you need to bring law for which existing bills can be passed, if opposition plays ball with the government”.
He favoured “radical” and “structural” changes for judicial reforms.
Somewhat tentative when asked about his agenda for the law ministry, Sibal said that a roadmap for his new assignment would be clear in a couple of weeks.
“Big-big people boosted a lot, but nothing has happened so far,” Sibal said, in an obvious pointer to his predecessors promising radical transformation in judicial functioning and erasure of backlogs in a promised time frame.
Sibal ducked the more contentious issues on which he was queried, saying these matters were sub-judice.
“We have 12 to 13 judges per million population. In other countries, it is 50 or 100 per million people. If two to three crore cases are pending, can I change it in one day? There is a need for dialogue with the state governments. There is need for a new way of thinking. It can’t be done tomorrow,” Sibal told newsmen.