The Rule of Law Convention 2018 on Judicial Reforms, held between February 9 and 11 by the Bar Association of India (BAI), saw participation by nearly 200 delegates from 21 states representing Bar Councils, and High Court and District Bar Associations..The extensive discussion that took place, on myriad topics including the Collegium system, speedy justice and transparency in the higher judiciary, has culminated in a resolution passed by the BAI..As discussions progressed, a near unanimous agreement seemed to emerge that all was not well with the Collegium system as it now stands..This was evident from the response to three propositions, put to vote by President of the BAI, Dr. Lalit Bhasin on the second day of the conclave..The proposition as to whether the Collegium system of appointments to the higher judiciary should function as it is, was rejected completely and unanimously..However, this did not mean that the gathering was in favour of yielding control to the Executive. The majority voted against the proposition that the Collegium System [should] be abolished and the Executive should be allowed to play a role in selection of judges to the higher judiciary..Overwhelming support was found for the proposition that the Collegium system of appointments [should] be continued with significant reforms and changes to bring in transparency and evolving mechanisms to ensure the best talent is appointed to the higher courts..Other notable highlights of the resolution passed at the conclave include the following:.Judicial appointments should not get delayed or postponed due to non-finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure. The process of filling vacancies at the high courts and the Supreme Court is required to be taken up at the earliest.When it comes to judicial appointments/elevation, it was observed that often, selective information on candidates was leaked to the public, thereby creating doubts as to their integrity and sometimes scuttling deserving appointments. In this background, it was opined that there should be a solution to ensure that the machinery used to carry out background checks for prospective judicial appointees is not misused to delay or scuttle deserving appointments.A fixed age of retirement allows the number of vacancies to be known much in advance. Therefore, a system of advance planning to fill up the vacancies to the high courts and Supreme Court needs to be in place. For this purpose, a well-resourced independent secretariat for judicial appointments and a database of eligible candidates should be created.Both the Judiciary and the Executive should work together in a spirit of collaboration to ensure speedy filling up of vacancies by keeping supreme the national and public interest in mind.It was resolved that, while not purporting to interfere in any manner, the BAI, in collaboration with High Court Bar Associations and District Bar Associations will constitute State level committees to aid effective and timely utilisation of funds for various projects and judicial infrastructure. This would be accomplished by holding meetings with various stakeholders, including the Judiciary and the Executive. For this purpose, state wise allocations for 14th Finance Commission will be put on the Association website barindia.in. The same would also be circulated in various events to be held in different parts of the country. Starting from Hyderabad on March 30 and 31, 2018, awareness and action plans will be initiated.Delegates from the North-Eastern states highlighted that remoteness and perceived neglect served to make justice administration problems more acute in the region. Therefore, it was decided to hold events in the North-East to learn more about the problems and to suggest solutions.There was a general consensus that Supreme Court must go back to pre-eminently being a Constitutional court and not just an appellate court. There should be a new tier of Court of Appeal, or earmarked appeal benches, with increased strength, to reduce the load.The delegates strongly felt that having a two judges bench is leading to frequent disagreements in views which hamper internal discipline and judicial consistency.The short tenure of Judges at High Court and Supreme Court and sometimes Chief Justices of High Court being appointed impacts Judicial and Administrative efficiency.There is a need to have a permanent five judges bench to hear matters under Article 145 (3) of the Constitution as to substantial questions relating to interpretation of the Constitution.Impeachment process is not effective and is full of gaps; the in-house process is ineffectual. Change is needed to ensure accountability and disciplining of errant judges, through an independent and transparent mechanism. Any differences within the judiciary on administrative issues including allocation of work should be resolved in house by setting of norms through full court, based on reports of committees constituted to make recommendations.It was felt that the higher judiciary should abide by the principles of transparency in its functioning to promote public interest and faith in the institution of justice.