Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Joseph's nomination to SC

03 May, 2018, 15:58 | Author: Lynne Higgins
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The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday deferred its decision on Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph, whose name for elevation to the top court was returned by the government last week for reconsideration even as the Centre maintained that the rejection had nothing to do with his judgment in quashing President's Rule in Uttarakhand previous year.

In the meeting which concluded a few minutes back, the Collegium which also comprises Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph chose to defer the same.

A top court bench led by CJI took strong note of the submission made by senior advocate Indira Jaising that Malhotra should not be sworn in as the apex court judge and the Centre be directed to recommend the name of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as well.

The members of the collegium including Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph had expressed concern over the delay of the government in clearing the name of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice as the apex court judge.

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. Last week, the government cleared the appointment of senior advocate to the Supreme Court as a judge of the top court, but put on hold the collegium's recommendation to elevate Joseph.

Contrary to speculations, sources confirmed to TNIE that though the agenda was to examine the government's response to Justice Joseph's elevation, during the brief meeting they agreed to discuss it at length early next week when the collegium will meet again. Among those were Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Kurian Joseph.

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Besides Justice Jospeph, the agenda of the Collegium was to deliberate on the names of some judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as apex court judges.

Justice Joseph's name for elevation to top court was recommended by the collegium at its January 10 meeting.

His seniority was also questioned by the Centre which said "he stands at Sl".

Justice Joseph will turn 60 this June and has another two more years as Chief Justice of High Court.

At a post cabinet briefing, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government decision to return the file of Justice Joseph had "nothing to do with his order quashing the President's Rule in Uttarakhand".

Some lawyers had even mentioned the matter before CJI Dipak Misra and demanded that there should be a stay on the warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra till the file of Justice Joseph is cleared.

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