The government’s decision to send back the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation for elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the top court was unprecedented and needed more detailed discussions, Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the collegium, said today.
“Things that should not have happened had happened — that is the general feeling,” the apex court judge told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. He was replying to a question on the Centre returning the recommendation of the collegium and asking it to reconsider Justice K M Joseph’s elevation to the apex court.
“There is no precedent of the names recommended by the collegium being returned (by the Centre). So, more detailed discussions should take place (on the matter),” the Supreme Court judge said, without elaborating further.
The collegium had, on May 2, deferred a decision on the issue of reconsidering its recommendation to elevate Justice K M Joseph, after it was sent back by the government last month. The five-member collegium, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, met after the apex court’s working hours, but no decision was taken as certain differences between the members could not be resolved.
The Centre, while returning the file of Justice Joseph to the collegium, had also mentioned that judges from various high courts had not found a place in the apex court. Justice K M Joseph’s name was recommended, along with that of then senior advocate, Indu Malhotra, on January 10 for their elevation as apex court judges. The government had, on April 26, declined to accept the recommendation of the collegium and asked it to reconsider Justice Joseph’s name. Malhotra was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on April 27.
In an unprecedented move, justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph had called a press meet in January and highlighted certain issues in the judiciary.