SC collegium to reiterate Justice Joseph's name

SC collegium to reiterate Justice Joseph's name

The Supreme Court Collegium on Friday reiterated its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to Supreme Court.

Since the identification of names of chief justices of high courts will require fresh deliberations within the collegium, it was decided that the CJI and the next four senior judges would meet again on May 16 to finalise other candidates.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, all the members of the collegium were present.

The resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court website says, the collegium met to consider reiteration of the recommendation dated 10th January, 2018 for elevation of Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [Parent HC: "Kerala] as Judge of the Supreme Court; to consider names of High Court Judges for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court".

On 26 April, the government rejected the collegium's recommendation to elevate Joseph but accepted its recommendation to elevate senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court. Until then, Justice Joseph's name will not be sent back to the Centre.

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While asking for reconsideration, the Centre argued that Justice Joseph was way too junior in the all-India seniority list of judges and that his parent HC, Kerala, was adequately represented through Justice Kurian Joseph. The Centre argued that this HC has enjoyed fair representation in the SC and now has a judge from that State HC.

While Malhotra's appointment was approved last month, the government sent back the name of Justice Joseph, citing seniority and regional representation as its concerns. Seeking its reconsideration, the government said that the proposal was not in accordance with the top court's parameters.

It is also learnt that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

The Congress-led opposition was quick to allege that the Centre's decision to return the recommendation was triggered by justice Joseph's judgement against the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand.

It decided that his name "should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of chief justices of high courts for elevation" to the Supreme Court. But government sources denied this saying Justice J S Khehar who headed the Constitution bench which struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission had gone on to become Chief Justice of India.

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