SC Collegium To Reiterate Justice KM Joseph's Name For SC Elevation

Uttarakhand high court K M Joseph in New Delhi

A crucial meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium was held today to discuss the issue of reconsidering the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation to the apex court, after it was returned by the Centre.

The government had cleared the other recommendation, Indu Malhotra, but said Justice Joseph - the chief justice of the Uttarakhand High Court - was not senior enough for the promotion. According to reports, the collegium has decided that they would reiterate Justice K.M. Joseph's name along with other names once they are finalised.

The constitutes CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph.

While Malhotra's appointment was approved last month, the government sent back the name of Justice Joseph, citing seniority and regional representation as its concerns. It also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court. It also argued that Justice Joseph's parent high court, the one in Kerala, was over-represented in the apex court.

The sending of recommended names back and forth marks the potential escalation of a brewing conflict between the executive and the judiciary over judicial appointments to the top court. "There isn't a similar precedent in the case of Supreme Court", the senior government functionary said.


The collegium also chose to send few more names taking into consideration the fact that there are seven vacancies to be filled in the apex court and five judges who are retiring shortly.

In a detailed note to chief justice of India justice Dipak Mishra, the government said that the proposal to reconsider justice Joseph's name had the approval of president Ram Nath Kovind and prime minister Narendra Modi. Justice Chelameswar in the letter also outlined why the Centre's objections were not valid.

The crisis took a new turn on April 20 when seven opposition parties submitted a petition seeking impeachment of justice Mishra to vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, with signatures from 71 parliamentarians. However, the Congress later withdrew the petition from the apex court after the chief justice referred it to a Constitution bench.

The resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court website says, the collegium met to consider reiteration of the recommendation dated 10th January, 2018 for elevation of Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [Parent HC: "Kerala] as Judge of the Supreme Court; to consider names of High Court Judges for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court".

The move was considered to be unprecedented as no erstwhile governments had refrained from accepting the recommendations sent by the Collegium.

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