Supreme Court collegium to press for Justice Joseph's elevation

May 12, 2018, 07:12 IST | Agencies

The panel of lawyers unanimously decided to recommend his name for elevation as a judge of the apex court after the Centre returned it

Justice Joseph. File Pic
Justice Joseph. File Pic

The Supreme Court Collegium on Friday agreed in principle to reiterate the recommendation for elevation of Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the apex court, after the Centre returned his name.

Justice Joseph had headed the bench in the Uttarakhand HC that had quashed the Narendra Modi government's decision to impose President's rule in the Congress-ruled hill state in 2016. In 2017, the Congress lost the assembly election there.

After an hour-long deliberation, the five-member Collegium, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, unanimously decided that Justice Joseph's name should be accompanied with the recommendation of names of other Chief Justices of high courts for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court.

The Collegium, in a resolution, said there was need for further discussion on the issue of sending the other names to the Centre and decided to meet again on May 16. "The Chief Justice and other members of the Collegium have, on principle, unanimously agreed that the recommendation for appointment of Justice K M Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand HC (parent high court: Kerala), as a judge of the Supreme Court should be reiterated.

"However, the said 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," the resolution said.

"In view of the aforesaid, the meeting stands deferred for being held at 4.15 pm on Wednesday, May 16, 2018," it said. The decision to convene the meeting was taken late on Thursday evening by the CJI.

Earlier on May 2, the Collegium had met on the issue but had deferred its decision. In Friday's meeting, the agenda was same and besides Justice Jospeph, the Collegium deliberated on the names of some judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh high courts for elevation as apex court judges.

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. During the deliberations, sources said those high court judges who are in the race to be elevated to the apex court are Chief Justice of Madras high court Indira Banerjee, who is originally from the Calcutta HC; Gujarat HC Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy, whose parent cadre is Telangana and Andhra Pradesh HC; and Karnataka high court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who is originally from Rajasthan HC.


Proposal not in line with parametres
* The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court's parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails. 
* It also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court.
* According to an apex court official, 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 top court as there was no change in the circumstances that had led the Collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10.

2016 Day an Uttarakhand HC bench headed by Justice Joseph quashed the Narendra Modi government's decision to impose President's rule in the Congress-ruled hill state
2017 Year Congress lost the assembly election in Uttarakhand

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