Report No. 80
4.7. Dr. Ambedkar's view.-
In the course of discussion which followed in the Constituent Assemuly, Dr. Ambedkar1 dealt with two suggestions. The first suggestion was that the appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court should be with the concurrence of Chief Justice. The second suggestion was that the approval of Parliament or, alternatively, of the Council of States would be necessary to these appointments. Dr. Ambedkar did not accept any of these suggestions. According to him, to make appointment subject to the veto of Parliament would be cumbersome and might involve the possibility of political pressures being exerted. He also expressed the view that to give any individual-even an eminent person like the Chief Justice-a power of veto might be a dangerous proposition. Dr. Ambedkar in this context observed:
"With regard to this matter, I quite agree that the point raised is of the greatest importance. There can be no difference of opinion in the House that our judiciary must both be independent of the executive and must also be competent in itself. And the question is how these two objects could be secured. There are two different ways in which this matter is governed in other countries. In Great Britain the appointments are made by the Crown, without any kind of limitation whatsoever, which means by the executive of the day. There is the opposite system in the United States where, for instance, offices of the Supreme Court as well as other offices of the State shall be made only with the concurrence of the Senate in the United States.
It seems to me, in the circumstances in which we like today, where the sense of responsibility has not grown to the same extent to which we find it in the United States, it would be dangerous to leave the appointments to be made by the President, without any kind of reservation or limitation, that is to say, merely on the advice of the executive of the day. Similarly, it seems to me that to make every appointment which the executive wishes to make subject to the concurrence of the Legislature is also not a very suitable provision. Apart from its being cumbrous, it also involves the possibility of the appointment being influenced by political pressure and political considerations.
The draft article, therefore, steers a middle course. It does not make the President the supreme and the absolute authority in the matter of making appointments. It does not also import the influence of the Legislature. The provision in the article is that there should be consultation of persons who are, ex hypothesi, well qualified to give proper advice in matters of this sort and my judgment is that this sort of provision may be regarded as sufficient for the moment.
With regard to the question of the concurrence of the Chief Justice, it seems to me that those who advocate that proposition seem to rely implicitly both on the impartiality of the Chief Justice and the soundness of his judgment. I personally feel no doubt that the Chief Justice is a very eminent person. But after all, the Chief Justice is a man with all the failings, all the sentiments and all the prejudices which we as common people have; and I think to allow the Chief Justice practically a veto upon the appointment of judges is really to transfer the authority to the Chief Justice which we are not prepared to vest in the President or the Government of the day. I, therefore, think that that is also a dangerous proposition."
1. Dr. Ambedakar in the C.A. Debates, Vol. 8, pp. 257-260 (24th May, 1948).