Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

SC Collegium Again Defers Decision to Re-Recommend Justice KM Joseph

Supreme Court collegium again defers reiterating Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to top court Reports Wikimedia Commons Augustus Binu
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2018, 14:22

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.

The Supreme Court collegium, comprising five senior-most judges, on Wednesday asserted its authority in the judicial appointments by reiterating its recommendation to the Centre to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the top court, rejecting its suggestion to consider the case of others senior to him.

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.

In doing so, it has expressed its concurrence with a unanimous recommendation made in this regard by the Rajasthan High Court Collegium, as well as the state government.

It had then adopted a resolution which stated that there was need for further discussion on the issue of sending the other names to the Centre.

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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.

The Supreme Court collegium of five senior Judges, which met on Friday, agreed "in principle" that it would reiterate its previous recommendation - returned by the Centre for reconsideration - on appointing the chief justice of the Uttarakhand high court, Justice K.M.Joseph, as a judge of the apex court.

The resolution had, in fact, specifically mentioned that the decision was being taken after considering the combined seniority of chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts, apart from their merit and integrity. Justice Chelameswar retires on June 22, but the Supreme Court goes on holiday from May 21 and reopens on July 2.

Justice Jhala's name has been approved after taking into consideration the material on record.

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