SC Collegium defers decision on KM Joseph elevation

03 May, 2018, 15:56 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • The Supreme Court collegium is meeting to decide on the appointment of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph as a judge to the top court

The Supreme Court collegium decided today to put off its decision on the recommendation of Justice K M Joseph.

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.

At least three names, along with that of Justice Joseph, are likely to be cleared at the next collegium meeting, the sources said.

Jaising told the court that the government was stalling justice Joseph's elevation because as chief justice of the Uttarakhand high court, he had quashed the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016, leading to the reinstatement of the Congress party government led by Harish Rawat.

Since the Centre had sent back the file, there was a necessity to apply "the principles of natural justice" while considering the suggestion of the government.

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The SC website used a single word, "Deferred", to describe the outcome of the much-awaited meeting of the collegium: the first since the Centre last month segregated its recommendations for the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra to the apex court and for elevation of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.

The Centre, while returning the file of Justice Joseph to the collegium, had also mentioned that judges from various high courts have not found place in the apex court.

"I wish to deny with all authority at my command that it has nothing to do with it (Justice Joseph's decision) at all, for two obvious reasons".

The government is well within its right to seek reconsideration of proposals sent by the Collegium of the Supreme Court, he also said. Prasad noted that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was elected with a three-fourths majority a year ago.

It also said it would later decide the issue of elevation of judges from other states "in view of the concept of fair representation".

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Taking the example of Justice Khehar, who had set aside the National Judicial Commission initiative, Prasad said that he too became Chief Justice of India during BJP-led NDA government.

Malhotra was sworn in as the judge of the apex court on April 27.

Notwithstanding the letters written by the collegium members to the CJI, which had come into the public domain, the centre disregarded the recommendation about Justice Joseph. "No.45 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis".

Many former chief justices, including RM Lodha and TS Thakur, have openly said that the decision of the Centre was wrong and that the collegium should reiterate its decision to elevate Joseph in the interest of the independence of judiciary.

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