Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

SC collegium agrees to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's elevation to apex court

SC collegium agrees to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's elevation to apex court

DESPITE objections from the Centre, the Supreme Court Collegium on Friday stood by its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice Justice K M Joseph as judge of the apex court.

According to reports, the Centre had objected saying- Justice Joseph was 42nd in terms of seniority in High Court judges across the country and observed that there were 11 chief justices of different high courts who were senior to justice Joseph.

The next meeting of Collegium will be held at 4.15 pm on May 16.

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The collegium, which is a group of five senior-most judges, earlier today, concluded a crucial meeting to discuss the elevation of Justice Joseph to the apex court.

With the collegium likely to assert its authority in appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court, this is expected to result in a major confrontation with the Centre, which has expressed its reservations on Justice Joseph's appointment to the top court. Lokur and Kurian Joseph-has not yet sent his name back. Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65. The Centre argued that this HC has enjoyed fair representation in the SC and now has a judge from that State HC. Under this, the Justice Joseph file would be sent along with names of other judges for the Supreme Court.

The additional names were considered in light of the Modi government's insistence, underlined in its letter to CJI Dipak Misra while returning the name of Joseph for reconsideration, that seniority and the principle of regional representation must be taken into consideration while recommending names. Prior to this, another Collegium member, Justice Kurian Joseph had openly backed the recommendation of the Collegium to elevate the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.

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In fact, the ground for widening the ambit beyond the Uttarakhand high court CJ's name to include the names of others was set through the agenda prepared for the collegium meeting on May 2 where deliberations on reiteration of Justice K M Joseph's name were deferred.

"Had it been the case, why would had we approved Justice JS Khehar's name for elevation as CJI a year ago", he said, recalling that Justice Khehar was part of the bench which rejected the government's controversial National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill.

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.

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The executive remains cut up about Justice Joseph having cancelled President's rule imposed by the Centre on the state.

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