The system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgements of the SC, and not by an act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
Supreme Court headed by CJI and comprises four other senior most judges by the court.
High Court headed by Chief Justice and comprises four other senior most judges by the court.
Names recommended for appointment by HC collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the SC Collegium.
The government’s role is limited to getting an inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) if a lawyer is to be elevated as a judge in a High Court or the Supreme Court.
It can also raise objections and seek clarifications regarding the collegium’s choices, but if the collegium reiterates the same names, the government is bound, under Constitution Bench judgments, to appoint them as judges.
For SC Judges:
As far as the CJI is concerned, the outgoing CJI recommends his successor (based on Seniority)
For other judges of the SC, the proposal is initiated by the CJI.
The CJI consults the rest of the Collegium members as well as the Seniormost Judge of the Court hailing from the High Court to which the recommended person belongs.
The Collegium sends the recommendation to the Law Minister, who forwards it to the Prime minister to advise the President.
For Chief Justice of High Courts:
The Chief Justice of high Court is appointed as per the policy of having Chief Justices from outside the respective states.
High Court judges are recommended by a Collegium comprising the CJI and two senior most judges.
The proposal, however, is initiated by the outgoing Chief Justice of High Court concerned in consultation with two senior most colleagues.
The recommendation is sent to the Chief Minister, who advises the Governor to send the proposal to the Union Law minister.
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to clarify on the status
of 55 recommendations made by the Collegium for judicial appointments to High Courts six months to nearly a yearand a half ago.
Of the pending recommendations, 44 were made to fill vacancies in the Calcutta, Madhya Pradesh, Gauhati, Rajasthan and Punjab High Courts.
These recommendations have been pending with the government for over seven months to a year.
The remaining 10 names have been pending with the government despite their reiteration by the Collegium.
They include five for the Calcutta High Court pending for one year and seven months.
The recommendations of four names made by the Collegium to the Delhi High
Court have been pending for seven months.
This is a matter of grave concern… When do you propose to take a decision?” a Special Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.
The total sanctioned strength in the 25 High Courts is 1,080. However, the present working strength is 661 with 419
vacancies as on March 1.