Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

Not Taking Revenge of Justice Joseph's 2016 Uttarakhand Order: Prasad

Not Taking Revenge of Justice Joseph's 2016 Uttarakhand Order: Prasad

The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday deferred its decision on Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph, whose name for elevation to the top court was returned by the government last week for reconsideration even as the Centre maintained that the rejection had nothing to do with his judgment in quashing President's Rule in Uttarakhand past year.

However, if the government's recent history is an indicator, it is likely to be sat on for a while - at least until CJI Misra convenes the full court discussion that Justices Kurian Joseph and Ranjan Gogoi had requested.

Sources, however, told this newspaper that wide range of issues relating to appointment of judges from High Courts, which did not have representation, was discussed which remained inconclusive.

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Many backers of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice have alleged that he is being penalised for his verdict striking down the dismissal of the Congress government in the state past year and are keen on his early elevation since the Centre will have no choice but to acquiesce to any reiteration by the collegium. "The government has exercised that power only", he said.

The present government had, at that time, hived-off Senior Counsel Gopal Subramanium's name, though his name had been recommended by the collegium as well.

Last month as many as 100 top Supreme Court lawyers had called for an extraordinary meeting to protest against the Narendra Modi government's decision to return the file on Justice KM Joseph's recommendations to the Collegium. Firstly, a proper (BJP-led) government with almost three-fourth majority has been elected in Uttarakhand.

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It was indicated that while Justices Misra, Gogoi and Lokur were of the opinion that the Centre's suggestions needed to be considered further at the next meeting, the other two judges were determined that the name must be iterated.

Last week, the Centre had refused to accept the decision of the collegium to elevate Justice Joseph.

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

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The letter pointed out that justice Joseph is 42nd in seniority among the high court judges and many HCs such as Gujarat, Calcutta and Jammu and Kashmir are not represented in the apex court. And justice Joseph's order was confirmed by justice J S Khehar of the Supreme Court, who had also set aside the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act; yet Khehar became CJI under the NDA government, Prasad said. One of the reasons cited was that his parent High Court of Kerala already had a representation in Justice Kurian Joseph, while many high courts had no representation in the Supreme Court.

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