Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

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

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

The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday deferred a decision on the issue of reconsidering its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand chief justice K.M. Joseph as the judge of the apex court which was sent back by the government last week.

The sources cited paucity of time - the collegium also discussed plans to elevate more judges, in addition to Justice Joseph, from the high courts to the Supreme Court during the 30-minute meeting - and an attempt to carefully consider the government's opinion as the reasons for deferring the decision.

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. Prasad noted that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was elected with a three-fourths majority previous year.

The government had on 26 April declined to accept the recommendation of the collegium and asked it to reconsider his name. "Secondly, that order was confirmed by Justice (J.S.) Khehar of the Supreme Court", the minister said in response to a media query.

Justice Josephs name was recommended along with then senior advocate Indu Malhotra on January 10 for their elevation as apex court judges.

The Supreme Court collegium has "deferred" a decision on Justice K.M. Joseph, whose elevation as a Supreme Court judge has been held up as the Centre had returned the recommendation last week. The decision to block elevation of Justice Joseph looks political.

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Justice Joseph was in news for passing the verdict quashing the Narendra Modi Government's decision to impose President's rule in the hill State of Uttarakhand in 2016.

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

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

"What kind of prayer is this", the top court bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said, adding that the Centre is "well within its right to send back the recommendation for reconsideration".

The top court collegium recommending the elevation of Justice Joseph had said: "The collegium considers that at present Justice K.M. Joseph, who hails from Kerala High Court and is now functioning as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India". In fact, a senior advocate had even filed a petition seeking stay on the oath of Justice Malhotra till Justice Joseph's name was reiterated.

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