Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Supreme Court agreed to reiterate Justice Joseph's name for elevation to SC

Supreme Court agreed to reiterate Justice Joseph's name for elevation to SC

At the meeting of Collegium - the topmost decision-making body of the Supreme Court - the five senior-most judges, including Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously agreed to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name to Centre for elevation as apex court judge.

A top court official said that Justice Chelameswar, in his letter sent to the CJI, had conveyed that he was reiterating his decision favouring elevation of Justice Joseph as the judge of the apex court as there was no change in the circumstances that had led the Collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10.

The Collegium meeting is further scheduled for May 16 to discuss the matter.

All members of the Collegium - Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, participated in the deliberations.

Sources suggested that the Collegium deliberated on the names of some of the senior Chief Justices of High Courts of Madras, Calcutta, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

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. It is believed that just sending Justice K M Joseph's name back would have suggested that the apex court was directly challenging the Centre and so, a middle-of-the-road course was adopted.

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The meeting of the Collegium was likely to be held on May 9, however, Justice Chelameswar was on leave.

Malhotra has joined the bench of the top court. However, the agenda for Friday's meeting dropped the term "fair representation" and simply stated that the collegium was "to consider names of HC judges for elevation as judges of the SC". Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65.

The government said that the proposal to reconsider justice Joseph's name had the approval of president Ram Nath Kovind.

"Had it been the case, why would had we approved Justice JS Khehar's name for elevation as CJI previous year", he said, recalling that Justice Khehar was part of the bench which rejected the government's controversial National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill.

These include: Justice Joseph is at No. 42 in the All India High Court Judges' Seniority List; his parent High Court of Kerala has "adequate representation in the Supreme Court"; several High Courts are "not represented in the Supreme Court at present"; and, "there is no representation of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities in the Supreme Court since long".

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