India has a rich history of judges who have left a mark with their judgements, and the current Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde has been no exception. However, as Bobde’s tenure as the CJI comes to an end, the focus of the Indian judiciary has now shifted to a personality who has been on the bench since 2016 – Justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud. While there has been a lot of talk about his opinions, judgments and decisions, what is more interesting is his stance on the Collegium system – which is one of the cornerstones of judicial administration in India.

To understand the significance of Chandrachud’s views on the Collegium system, one must first look at how this system functions. The Collegium system was introduced in India in 1990 by a Supreme Court judgment, which stated that the Chief Justice of India should consult the four senior-most judges of the court to select the new judges to be appointed. The system was further strengthened in 1993 and institutionalized by the Supreme Court, which made it mandatory for the Central Government to appoint judges only as recommended by the Collegium.

While the Collegium system did bring about a certain degree of balance in the appointment of judges and helped maintain independence, it has been criticized for being opaque, arbitrary and less democratic. It has been said that the Collegium system further reinforced the power of the judiciary in India, making it unaccountable to anyone outside the judiciary. This has led to calls for a more democratic system of appointing judges.

Given that India is the largest democracy in the world, it is only natural to expect transparency and democracy to the core in every aspect of life, including the selection of judges. While the Collegium system has been successful to a certain extent, it has also faced major challenges from people and the government.

It is in this context that Justice Chandrachud’s views hold a lot of weight. In a recent event, he acknowledged that the Collegium system was far from perfect, but it was still the best mechanism we have in place. He also stressed the need for being able to accommodate differences within the Collegium system, and to work towards building consensus.

It is a fact that the Collegium system has its flaws, but it is also undeniable that it is the best system we have in place for appointing judges. Even though the system has been scrutinized and criticized multiple times, it is still important to realize that the system has been institutionalized by the courts and enjoys widespread popularity amongst legal circles. The system might have its flaws, but it is still the best we have.

Chandrachud’s views regarding the Collegium system might come as a surprise to many, given his progressive ideas and liberal outlook. However, it is crucial to understand that the function of the judiciary in India is a delicate balance. It is not always about the judges and what they want, but also about the systems and institutions that support them.

Chandrachud has been a vocal critic of the government when it comes to the Judiciary’s independence. He spoke at length about it during the Janata Party’s convention on the issue. He also made it clear that the judiciary should be independent and that the government should not interfere in the autonomy of the judiciary.

While Chandrachud’s views might not be in sync with the progressive narratives currently playing out in India, they are still significant. They highlight the need for a balanced approach to the functioning of the judiciary in India. His views also underscore the need for continuing dialogue between the judiciary, the government and civil society.

It is heartening to see that Chandrachud is not afraid to speak his mind on issues that matter. He is a chief justice who is intellectually curious, open-minded, and approachable. His contributions to the Indian judiciary are significant, and more importantly, his views are grounded in reality.

To conclude, Justice Chandrachud’s views on the Collegium system might have come as a surprise to many, but they are significant in the larger discourse of judicial administration in India. His views highlight the need for a balanced approach to the functioning of the judiciary in India. It is important to remember that the functioning of the judiciary in India is a delicate balance, and we must ensure that we do not compromise on the independence of the judiciary while attempting to bring about reforms. Justice Chandrachud has played a significant role in ensuring that balance is maintained, and his contributions to the Indian judiciary are invaluable.