Supreme Court holds legislative debate on NJAC Is SC competent to improve collegium?

 A Division Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice S. Jagdish Singh Khehar today allowed most of the senior advocates to initiate a debate on the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. Several senior lawyers dealt with subjects like transparency, criteria/eligibility, conduct/ role of the collegium etc. It appears from over one hour discussion in the Supreme Court that the bench and the bar i.e. the judges as well as lawyers were trying to swim in the frozen waters. There was more confusion than the light as the discussion remained inclusive.
          Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate and Executive Chairman of the State Legal Aid Committee who is one of the petitioners in a NJAC case before the Supreme Court said that the Supreme Court cannot enter the arena meant for the Parliament. The Supreme Court has given its judgment in over 1000 pages which shall go down in the history of the court as a unique judgment to uphold the independence of judiciary. No doubt the Supreme Court has invited suggestions from the lawyers and others for updating the collegium system which was held valid by nine judges bench of the Supreme Court. Certainly collegium system needs improvement, additions, substractions and introduction of transparency in the selection of the judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. There must have been hundreds of suggestions and each suggestion needs careful review. The important discussion in the court today focused on transparency in the system for selecting the judges, the criteria/eligibility of the candidates to be the next judges and the  constitution of the collegium system.
          Prof.Bhim Singh said that the exercise undertaken by the Supreme Court deserves attention of the Parliament of India as well as the legal fraternity whether the initiative taken by the Supreme Court falls within the competence of the judiciary? In his judgment, Prof.Bhim Singh feels that the Supreme Court after deciding a matter and delivering its judgment should leave the space open for the consideration of the Parliament. He said it is Parliament alone which is competent to consider whether there should be a secretariat for the collegium or there is requirement of permanent members of the secretariat? Who shall be these members and functionaries? What is the criteria/eligibility of a person to be considered for the post of a judge in a High Court or in the Supreme Court? All these issues need to be debated in the Parliament and settled by the Parliament. It is Parliament alone which is competent to legislate in respect of terms and conditions of the collegium and the powers to be vested in it. 
          Prof.Bhim Singh expressed surprise on the silence of the Ministry of Law to take up these issues actively, effectively and with farsightedness in the interest of the independence of the judiciary which is essential for preserving democracy and rule of law.