Decision on KM Joseph deferred

Supreme Court collegium again defers reiterating Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to top court Reports

Wikimedia Commons Augustus Binu

This was despite the fact that while recommending him in January, the resolution signed by five collegium members had stated that they found Justice K.M. Joseph to be "more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of high courts for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court of India". The collegium had earlier chose to consider other names from various high courts for appointment as SC judges and had deferred the deliberations to May 16.

Which means that even the recommendation of Justice Joseph's name gets delayed in the process.

The central government had in April asked the collegium to reconsider elevation of Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice Joseph, which had sparked off allegations that his promotion was being stalled because of his order previous year that had resulted in President's rule being vacated from Uttarakhand.

The collegium during its last meeting on 11 May had taken an in-principle decision to reiterate its recommendation for the elevation of Justice Joseph to the apex court.

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Besides reiterating the elevation of Justice Joseph, the collegium has earlier recommended the elevation to the top court of Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice and the Chief Justice of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court.

It would be interesting to note that Justice Jasti Chelameswar will henceforth not be part of the Collegium and the decision will be taken either by the truncated Collegium or with the inclusion of another member from the bench, the next senior-most.

When the collegium finally formalises its reiteration of Justice Joseph and sends the file back to the government, the latter would be bound by the collegium's decision. It had also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court. It could be held on Friday or next week, sources said.

The NJAC judgment marked the beginning of Justice Chelameswars journey of dissent which took several shapes later in the form of letter wars with CJIs on the issue of lack of transparency in collegium proceedings and public utterances to the effect.

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