An Empirical Assessment of the Collegium’s Impact on Composition of the Indian Supreme Court


—Rangin Tripathy and Soumendra Dhanee

Much of the legal scholarship on the collegium system of appointing judges in India has revolved around its constitutionality. This paper is based on the premise that an empirical investigation of the collegium’s functioning is equally important. With an analysis of data spanning over seventy-two years, we have highlighted how the collegium has altered the composition of the Supreme Court. While the regional diversity of the court has improved in a relative sense, professional diversity in the court has deteriorated alarmingly. Lawyer-judges have acquired a complete hegemony at the expense of judges having a career in the lower judiciary. Judges from different parent High Courts have more equitable representation in the court. The collegium has adopted a policy of shorter tenure for judges and significantly reduced the number of judges having a tenure beyond eight years.

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