Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Collegium backs KM Joseph again

Supreme Court file Collegium likely to repeat recommendation for Justice KM Joseph to SC…
Andrew Cummings | 14 May, 2018, 00:12

Along with Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Jospeh, the name of Justice Indu Malhotra had also been recommended by the court which was cleared by the government.

In its meeting today, it "unanimously agreed" that that the recommendation for appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a Judge of the Supreme Court "should be reiterated".

The Collegium meeting is further scheduled for May 16 to discuss the matter.

The collegium, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and four of the seniormost judges of the Supreme Court-J.

Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge in the Supreme Court, had written a letter to the CJI on Thursday, seeking the reiteration of Justice Joseph's name for elevation.

Two weeks after the Modi government, sitting on the recommendation for almost four months, sought reconsideration of Joseph's name saying it was in "violation of SC's parameters on seniority and merit", the collegium "in principle" unanimously agreed to reiterate his name for elevation.

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However, Justice Gogoi, who will succeed CJI Misra on October 3, and Justice Lokur agreed with the CJI that when there were seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, it would be improper for the collegium to send only one name to the government. The Centre also raised the principle of proportionality contending that Kerala high court was a "comparatively small high court" with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges and was a parent high court for top court judge Justice Kurian Joseph and the chief justices of three high courts - Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T B Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).

It is important for all members of the collegium to be on board as the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in the Third Judges Case specifies that the reiteration of a name must be unanimous and not a vote by majority. The Centre argued that this HC has enjoyed fair representation in the SC and now has a judge from that State HC.

Justice Thomas J. Crabtree, of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, has been appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack.

Critics, however, sought to link the government's decision not to return Justice K M Joseph's name to his 2016 decision to overturn President's rule imposed by the NDA government in Uttarakhand.

The decision might trigger yet another round of judiciary vs government confrontation.

The collegium also chose to send few more names taking into consideration the fact that there are seven vacancies to be filled in the apex court and five judges who are retiring shortly.

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