New Delhi: Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday alleged that the collegium system of appointment of judges was giving rise to favouritism and preventing Dalits, OBCs and the poor among the upper castes from entering the higher judiciary on the basis of merit.
Kushwaha, the Union Minister of State for HRD, who has been raising the demand for adequate representation to all sections of society in the higher judiciary for sometime, made it clear that his party will go ahead with its 'Halla Bol Darwaza Khol' programme, whereby the people will be sensitised to the need for reforming the system of appointment of judges.
"The collegium system has proved to be a total failure. It has become a breeding ground for favouritism. Under this system, only those deemed to be successors of sitting judges are getting appointed to High Courts and the Supreme Court," Kushwaha, who is also the chief of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) said.
"This has been a matter of concern for quite some time. The President has expressed his reservations about the system and so have many other intellectuals. The Centre tried to amend the system by bringing in the NJAC bill. But the same got struck down by the Supreme Court," he said.
"The apex court now must rise to the occasion by initiating reforms by whichever method it deems appropriate. But the highest court of law cannot wish away the need for reforms," Kushwaha said.
He said that under the existing collegium system, neither the SCs/STs, the OBCs nor the poor among the upper castes are getting a chance to enter the higher judiciary on the basis of merit. This must change as the Constitution provides for equality of opportunity.
"Our party will go ahead with 'Halla Bol Darwaza Khol' which will be launched in Delhi on May 20. The programme will include seminars, to be addressed by constitutional experts, as well as mass awareness programmes. There is a huge need for adequate representation of all sections of the society in the higher judiciary," he added.