What is the caliber of judges appointed through the collegium system?
Judges selected by the collegium for higher judiciary are sometimes worse than useless, according to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
Rohatgi gave the instance of Justice Cyriac Joseph. As a judge of Delhi High Court, Justice Joseph performed miserably. He reserved more than 100 judgments and went out on being transferred without delivering the judgments, so that all the cases had to be reheard.
Later, as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Cyriac Joseph delivered 162 judgments of which 89 "cannot be even called orders as they did not decide rights of the parties. These are merely stating that the petition has become infructuous or allowing the petition to be withdrawn. Of the 162, only two could be called judgments... But both these were authored by the other judge who was part of the bench," the AG said.
Justice Cyriac Joseph was very successful at climbing the career ladder. Only one month after being appointed as permanent judge of Kerala High Court in July 1994, he was transferred to Delhi High Court, and later transferred back to Kerala High Court in Sept 2001. He was made Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court in March 2005, and later, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.
He became a judge of Supreme Court of India on 7 July 2008, until he retired on 27 January 2012. Justice Cyriac Joseph authored only seven judgments during his tenure as a Supreme Court judge from July 7, 2008 to January 27, 2012. In his entire 18-year career as a judge of the higher judiciary starting from 1994, he is reckoned to have delivered less than 100 judgments.
According to Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar of Supreme Court, Mr Joseph was appointed to the Supreme Court following the principle of ‘due representation to different sections of society’ which the government also intends to adopt under the NJAC. While it is bizarre to suggest that a person who is otherwise not suitable to be made a judge could be appointed to the Supreme Court simply in order to give effect to this principle, the facts regarding this particular judge must make the erstwhile collegium introspect about its decision to appoint him to the Supreme Court in the first place.
And after retirement, the government saw fit to appoint Mr Cyriac Joseph as Acting Chairman of National Human Rights Commission?! This is the cherry on the cake of incompetence being rewarded with constitutional posts.