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Appointment of judges in India is bereft of transparency and judicial benches need to be more diverse, former Delhi high court chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah said Saturday.

‘Our current appointments system is out of step with democratic culture, primarily because it lacks transparency, and provides for no oversight,’ Shah said.

Known for his outspoken judgments, including the landmark July 2009 verdict de-criminalising homosexuality, Shah was speaking at a seminar ‘Strengthening Democracy: Role of Judiciary’ organised here.

‘At present, choosing judges is based on undisclosed criterion in largely unknown circumstances, reflecting an increasing democratic deficit. We can learn from systems elsewhere,’ Shah said.

‘International consensus seems to favour appointments to the higher judiciary through an independent commission. There should also be a consensus to bring more diversity on the bench,’ he said, adding that less than five percent of judges were female.


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