SC Collegium defers decision on Justice Joseph's elevation again


During the May 11 meeting of the collegium, sources said Justices Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph had pitched strongly for reiteration of Justice K M Joseph's name and insisted on sending his name alone to the government for quick elevation to the SC.

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 had earlier made a decision to consider other names from various high courts for appointment as SC judges and had deferred the deliberations to May 16.

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File image of Justice KM Joseph.

Which means that even the recommendation of Justice Joseph's name gets delayed in the process. Members also deliberated on whether Justice Joseph would lose his seniority if his name was clubbed with the others.

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

A press conference he addressed on January 12, along with three other senior-most judges, complaining how Chief Justice Dipak Misra allocated cases selectively to benches of his preferences marked the culmination of his dissent. The Centre had sent back Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration. On Wednesday, there was a detailed discussion in the collegium but sources said no unanimity was reached on names that could be recommended for appointment as SC judges. Justice Chelameswar retires on June 22, but the Supreme Court goes on holiday from May 21 and reopens on July 2. But it has chose to do so only while recommending - presumably on May 16 - the elevation of other chief justices of high courts, who may be in the zone of consideration, for appointment as Supreme court judges.

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It is not first time that the government has sought to block a collegium decision on Justice Joseph.