Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Collegium defers decision on elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court

Collegium defers decision on elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court

The decision of Supreme Court collegium to defer the issue of reconsidering the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation as an apex court judge is unfortunate.

All the five judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, took part in the meeting held a little while after normal business of the court ended at 4 pm.

CJI Misra was of the view that judges from the high courts of Rajasthan, Calcutta and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana should be considered along with the proposal to elevate Justice Joseph, the person said on condition of anonymity. Prasad noted that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was elected with a three-fourths majority a year ago.

Three of the others said they needed time to respond to other names proposed by the CJI and also to decide if a consolidated list of the four names should be sent to the government or just the name of Justice Joseph.

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The Collegium's move to defer its decision on Justice KM Joseph comes almost a week after the Centre rejected its recommendation to elevate the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice as an apex court judge and asked it to reconsider its choice.

The names of Justice Indira Banerjee who hails from Calcutta High Court and is now the chief justice of Madras High Court, and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, now the Karnataka High Court chief justice, are doing the rounds.

The Centre had ignored convention that the collegium's recommendation be treated as a whole, when it split a January file and appointed Justice Indu Malhotra alone as a judge.

It was indicated that while Justices Misra, Gogoi and Lokur were of the opinion that the Centre's suggestions needed to be considered further at the next meeting, the other two judges were determined that the name must be iterated.

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Indu Malhotra was sworn in last week.

"What kind of prayer is this", the top court bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said, adding that the Centre is "well within its right to send back the recommendation for reconsideration".

The Kerala High Court is the parent High Court of Justice Joseph, who is ranked number 45 in the inter-seniority among judges on all-India basis.

The run-up to the meeting of the collegium saw a group of senior advocates, activist lawyers, and retired judges, including a former CJI, building up pressure for immediate reiteration of the recommendation for Justice K M Joseph.

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Though it had cleared the recommendation of Malhotra for appointment as top court judge, the Central government flagged the absence of SC/ST judges in the top judiciary while returning the recommendation of Justice Joseph for reconsideration.

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