Saturday, 20 October, 2018

SC collegium defers reiteration of Justice Joseph's elevation to top court

Supreme Court collegium again defers reiterating Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to top court Reports Wikimedia Commons Augustus Binu
Kenny Thornton | 17 May, 2018, 11:47

This is the collegium's second meeting to firm up its response to the centre's decision that has set up a face-off between the judiciary and the executive and has been described as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. Now if the Collegium sends back his name again, then the government would be bound by it.

Three candidates have been nominated for a vacancy on Colorado's Supreme Court, created by Chief Justice Nancy Rice's retirement.

Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad had rejected this allegation and had explained that the Centre was opposing Justice Joseph's elevation because Kerala HC, to which he originally belongs, is already well represented in the apex court and that there were other judges who deserved promotion first due to their seniority.

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At its last meeting on May 11, the Collegium had agreed in principle to reiterate its recommendation for elevating Justice Joseph as a judge of the apex court, nearly three weeks after it was returned by the Centre. Members also deliberated on whether Justice Joseph would lose his seniority if his name was clubbed with the others.

The meeting mainly centred around names from the high courts of Calcutta, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and the Northeast for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Sources told The Telegraph that the five-member collegium of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J. Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph met for over two hours on Wednesday evening. Justice Malhotra is already functioning as a Supreme Court judge. The details of its recommendations were, however, not available as they were not uploaded on the Supreme Court website, as is the practice. Highly-placed sources said at the almost two-hour meeting, though there was consensus and unanimity to reiterate Justice Joseph's elevation, there was no consensus in respect of other names, viz the Chief Justices of Madras, Gujarat, Karnataka and few other high courts. But it is likely that the collegium may first consider six chief justices, in addition to K.M. Joseph, for filling the current vacancies in the apex court.

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