Collegium likely to repeat recommendation for Justice KM Joseph to SC…

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

The Supreme Court Collegium at its meeting on Friday, May 11, agreed to reiterate its recommendation for appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge, along with names of some other High Court chief justices.

A crucial meeting of the collegium on Friday sent out strong signals that the controversy is not going to die down soon with the top body unanimously agreeing in principle to reiterate the recommendation for the elevation of justice Joseph.

The Collegium meeting is further scheduled for May 16 to discuss the matter.

The collegium consists of five judges: the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Bhimrao Lokur. "It would also not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable and deserving chief justices and senior puisne judges of various high courts", the government had stated while rejecting his name.

Though Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, wasn't present at the meeting, he backed reiteration of the name.




According to current norms, a unanimous reiteration must be agreed to by the Centre and the Judge must be sworn in. Prior to this, another Collegium member, Justice Kurian Joseph had openly backed the recommendation of the Collegium to elevate the Uttarakhand Chief Justice. It is learnt that the government has to follow the guidelines laid down by the apex court in its 1993 and 1998 judgements relating to the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. After sitting on the names for more than three months, the government cleared Malhotra's name last month and returned Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration.

Reacting to the Centre's response, CJI Misra had said the government is "within its rights" to send back a name for reconsideration. On May 2, the collegium met to reconsider Joseph's elevation to the Supreme Court.

The government had returned Justice Joseph's name, while approving designated senior advocate Indu Malhotra's elevation, prompting commentators to accuse the government of vindictiveness. But government sources denied this saying Justice J S Khehar who headed the Constitution bench which struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission had gone on to become Chief Justice of India.

The Congress-led opposition was quick to allege that the Centre's decision to return the recommendation was triggered by justice Joseph's judgement against the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand.

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