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SC vs Centre: Justice Joseph row explained

SC vs Centre: Justice Joseph row explained

The collegium had on May 2 also, held a 45-minute meeting, to reconsider the recommendation for the appointment of Justice Joseph as a SC judge, but was deferred as it remained inconclusive.

The Supreme Court collegium on Friday unanimously agreed to reiterate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph's name for Supreme Court judge. Justice Chelameswar had on Wednesday written to the Chief Justice asking him to convene a meeting of the collegium to urgently forward Justice Joseph's name to the Centre.

The Supreme Court collegium on Friday decided that it would reiterate the elevation of Justice KM Joseph as a judge of India's top court.

Sources suggested that the Collegium deliberated on the names of some of the senior Chief Justices of High Courts of Madras, Calcutta, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. "We have simply asked for reconsideration", he said, adding that the Centre's response is not linked to Justice Joseph being part of the Uttarakhand HC bench in 2016 which ruled against the government.

Official sources said the members of the Collegium deliberated on the issue for almost an hour.

Legal experts, however, said there was no need for the collegium to defer sending Justice Joseph's file, for his situation was different from those of the high court judges being considered for first-time elevation to the top court.

However, the collegium will also recommend names of some other senior high court chief justices with Joseph.

Apart from Justices Misra and Chelameswar, the collegium is made up of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph. It also argued that Justice Joseph's parent high court, the one in Kerala, was over-represented in the apex court.

Escalating its conflict with the judiciary, the Modi government last month appointed senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court, while ignoring the recommendation to elevate Joseph.

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.

Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, was also understood to have responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

The Supreme Court Collegium meeting of Friday (May 11) threw up a solution of sorts, nearly exactly as India Legal had predicted.