Justice K.M. Joseph's elevation to SC: Collegium decides to reiterate recommendation to govt.

The next meeting of the Collegium will be held at 4.15 p.m. on May 16.

Updated - December 01, 2021 06:21 am IST

Published - May 11, 2018 05:46 pm IST

 Justice K.M. Joseph. File

Justice K.M. Joseph. File

The Supreme Court collegium led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Friday agreed “in principle” to reiterate its January 10 recommendation to the government to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph as a judge of the Supreme Court.

“The Chief Justice and other members of the collegium have, in principle, unanimously agreed that the recommendation for appointment of Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court, as a judge of the Supreme Court should be reiterated,” the signed resolution of the collegium said, at the end of a closed-door meeting that went on for over an hour.

The government had objected to his appointment, saying he was too junior to become a Supreme Court judge. The Centre had said Justice Joseph’s “comparatively small” parent High Court of Kerala was already “adequately represented” in the apex court and among High Court Chief Justices.

When the collegium sends the file back, the government will have to accept the recommendation.

The collegium intends to send Justice Joseph’s name along with other names being considered for Supreme Court judgeships.

This means that he would have to wait till the collegium decides on the names of the other probables.

“The reiteration (of Justice Joseph) should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court, for which detailed discussion is required,” the resolution said.

The collegium is to meet again on May 16 to discuss the other judges.

A source in the apex court said the collegium had initially discussed sending back the file of Justice Joseph first and not wait till the other names are finalised. Members also deliberated on whether Justice Joseph would lose his seniority if his name was clubbed with the others. This issue may come up in the next meeting.

Legal experts asked why the collegium, having “unanimously agreed” to reiterate his name, should wait till the others are picked.

The collegium, which had met last on May 2, parted on an inconclusive note.

The previous meet had also set in motion discussions on the names of judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation, in view of the “concept of fair representation.”

Friday’s meeting came in the backdrop of a letter written by Justice Chelameswar, the number two judge of the SC, to the Chief Justice, strongly backing Justice Joseph.

The collegium — also comprising Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had unanimously recommended Justice Joseph as apex court judge in a resolution on January 10.

After a three-month hiatus, the government cleared Indu Malhotra’s name while returning Justice Joseph’s file to the collegium even though both names were sent together. Justice Malhotra is already functioning as a Supreme Court judge.

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