It is now official that the SC collegium will delink Justice Dinakaran from the other four Judges whom it recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court. I was amazed to read this story in TOI wherein a highly placed source has claimed that the collegium always keeps an open mind about its recommendations. Is that so? Then, why is it that the SC Collegium keeps its recommendations under wraps rather than disclose it through a press release? In this article in Frontline, I suggest that but for The Hindu’s August 27 story on the collegium’s recommendation, obtained through its exclusive sources, the Forum for Judicial Accountability would not have gathered the allegations against Justice Dinakaran and forwarded it to the Collegium. In other words, the Collegium owes it to the media for bringing to its notice that one of its recommended appointees has a controversial background which needed to be probed. Had The Hindu not carried the story on collegium’s recommendations, the allegations would not have come to light, and the collegium would not have got an opportunity to review its decision. Therefore, if the Collegium indeed has an open mind, it must resolve to release its recommendations formally to the media, so as to subject the appointees to public scrutiny.
In my article, I also deal with the issue of non-consultation by the CJI with a senior SC Judge hailing from a State from which the appointee also hails. In this case, the present Collegium appears to have interpreted the 1993 SC Judgment in the Second Judges case narrowly by suggesting that a senior Judge from Karnataka (Justice Raveendran) was consulted, whereas two senior Judges hailing from Madras High Court were not consulted, even though Justice Dinakaran had spent much of his tenure there.