Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit said on Sunday that the Collegium system for appointing judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court is a foolproof system and is here to stay. .The recent comments made by Union Law Minister against the Collegium system can only be seen as conveying his personal opinion, the former CJI said."Collegium is established norm and his (Law Minister's) comments are his personal opinion. The collegium system have got the approval of five judges bench of the Supreme Court," Justice Lalit told Bar & Bench's Debayan Roy..Excerpts from the conversation below..On Collegium"Collegium system is here to stay. The fundamental part of judges choosing a successor is an established norm. So final boundaries of that jurisdiction can be worked out like timeline for Central government. But we cannot go beyond established norms," the former CJI made it clear.He added that the Collegium system is foolproof. "The collegium system is foolproof. Collegium judges selecting a judge is often from other States and thus that check is there. Then there are Intelligence Bureau reports, then Supreme Court collegium looks at it... So there are enough checks and balances," CJI Lalit said.Regarding the appointment of judges through Collegium, he said,"All collegium members have a say and they have an input. It was because of this we appointed almost 250 judges in the collegium headed by CJI Ramana. Figures speak for themselves.".On Union Law Minister's comment on Collegium"Collegium is established norm and his (Law Minister's) comments are his personal opinion. The collegium system has got the approval of a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court.".On not giving out reasons for appointing a candidate "Sometimes reasons can be on income criteria etc and when Collegium rejects a name, there is a negativity attached to the name and that is why the reasons are withheld from the public.".On transparency in collegium"By nature, proceedings cannot be transparent like collecting information for vacancies and having a number of candidates. But the decisions are transparent.".On reporting of oral observations by judgesHe called for more responsibility on social media when reporting oral observations made by judges."A judge is called upon to decide a case and in the journey from 0 to 100 there may be areas where the judge is not clear and he may ask a questions to the lawyers to elicit an answer. These are intermediary comments but what happens on social media is such statements are picked up. So social media and what is reported must also be responsible," he said. .On Karnataka Senior Counsel withdrawing consent for judgeship"A very good Karnataka based senior was recommended (for judgeship) but never processed. But his level of patience was breached and it was almost a year. He wrote a letter to the collegium and withdrew consent to be a High Court judge. The system got deprived of one talent.".On tackling pendency of cases "Arrears keep on increasing and you have to reduce it. For example, tax matters, you have to see that issue is decided and connected cases will get disposed of. This is the cyclic reaction.There are a lot of appeals in Supreme Court and apex court is not made for such regular (statutory) appeals. Appeals from electricity tribunal, Armed force tribunal is coming to Supreme Court and appellate jurisdiction is increasing which puts pressure. I believe the way of change is to bring it under Article 136.".On having more women judges in the judiciary"Lady judges must be given preference for adequate representation across the board. How do you achieve that ? There are very less women practitioners and thus lowest strata (of judiciary) has to be encouraged. In Rajasthan induction training, out of 126, 118 were ladies. So this is where the talent can be brought up to the Supreme Court."