SC collegium to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name for elevation

Justice KM Joseph's Elevation as Supreme Court Judge Recommended Again by Collegium

However, the reiteration 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, it said.

The Supreme Court collegium on Friday unanimously agreed to reaffirm the nomination of Justice K.M. Joseph for elevation to the Supreme Court, after the Centre had returned the earlier recommendation for reconsideration, but chose not to send the file immediately.

Apart from Justices Misra and Chelameswar, the collegium is made up of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The Centre said the recommendation wasn't in accordance with the top court's parameters and there was already adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where Justice Joseph hails.

Justice Chelameshwar alleged that the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order.The judges claimed to have a written a letter to justice Mishra for which they had not received a reply.

Though the names of Justice K M Joseph and senior advocate Indu Malhotra were recommended together, the government only approved Malhotra's name - that too more than three months after the Collegium had approved them - and returned Justice K M Joseph's name on April 26 for reconsideration. 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".

It is also learnt that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

It is widely believed that the Centre is "revengeful" towards Justice Joseph as he had in April 2016 quashed President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016 and allowed Congress to come back to power. Currently, there are 25 judges in the apex court, still short of its actual strength by six members.

"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.

In fact, the ground for widening the ambit beyond the Uttarakhand high court CJ's name to include the names of others was set through the agenda prepared for the collegium meeting on May 2 where deliberations on reiteration of Justice K M Joseph's name were deferred.

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