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Highlights: Govt writes to CJI, says elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court not appropriate at this stage

Justice KM Joseph's elevation to Supreme Court: Congress takes on Modi government, says it must act on recommendation of Supreme Court collegium. Follow LIVE updates here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 26, 2018 5:06:15 pm
km joseph, supreme court, indian express Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey

The Law Ministry Thursday wrote to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra saying it would not be appropriate, at this stage, to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.

Sources have told The Indian Express that, in his letter to the Chief Justice asking that Justice Joseph’s name be reconsidered by the collegium, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said Justice KM Joseph is placed at number 42 in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority list and there are presently 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts who are senior to him.

The Congress Thursday took on the government for not clearing Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to the Supreme Court despite the top court recommending his name. Speaking at a press conference in the national capital, senior party leader Kapil Sibal said the government must immediately reconsider his appointment. “They are unwilling to accept the collegium’s recommendations but only want judges that are favourable to them.”

Live Blog

Justice KM Joseph's elevation to Supreme Court has been stalled by government despite clearance by SC collegium. Follow LIVE updates

15:32 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Your record is too dismal, stop talking about independence of judiciary: Ravi Shankar Prasad tells Congress
15:19 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Here's what Kapil Sibal said at the press conference

14:59 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Vikas Singh says interference by executive uncalled for

In a statement to PTI, Vikas Singh said, "Government will be responsible. This kind of interference by the executive is definitely uncalled for. By delaying this, they have definitely interfered in seniority rules and in that sense they have interfered in the functioning of judiciary. A very serious matter. The civil society and the judges of the Supreme Court in full court should discuss and take it up with the government." 

14:57 (IST)26 Apr 2018
SC Bar Association president Vikas Singh expresses concern over delay in appointment of Justice Joseph

SCBA president Vikas Singh, speaking in his individual capacity, expressed concern over the delay in the appointment of Justice Joseph and said "this kind of interference by the executive is definitely uncalled for".

14:56 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Supreme Court on Indu Malhotra appointment

Constitutional propriety demands that warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra be implemented , observed the Supreme Court 

14:44 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Lawyers withdraw their demand for stay of the warrant

With the court putting its foot down, the lawyers withdrew their demand for stay of the warrant and said they will file their plea raising other constitutional questions that the issue may raise.

14:41 (IST)26 Apr 2018
'Unimaginable, unthinkable, inconceivable and never heard of'

CJI Dipak Misra sternly rebuked lawyers seeking a stay on the warrant of appointment of Sr Advocate Indu Malhotra as judge of apex court. CJI Dipak Misra told Adv Indira Jaising, who mentioned it, that their prayer was unimaginable, unthinkable, inconceivable and never heard of.

Jaising said they were for Malhotra's elevation but were only concerned about the government segregating files of Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph whose names were recommended together by the Collegium for elevation on January 10.

14:33 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Is there merit in the govt's seniority argument?

The government's 'seniority argument' however has been used “conveniently and inter-changeably, either cited as per initial appointment as a Judge or as a Chief Justice”, as an argument to push or nix names of judges. But after Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, other than Chief Justice M L Dattu, none of the Chief Justices were Judges who were Chief Justices in their Courts or seniormost by that yardstick when elevated.

14:29 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Who all comprise the collegium?

The Collegium consists of the Chief Justice and four seniormost Judges Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. Its composition will change only in June when Justice Chelameswar retires.

14:28 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Proposal for reconsideration has PM, Presidents approval: Law Ministry

The letter states: "This proposal for reconsideration of the case of Shri Justice KM Joseph has the approval of Honourbale President and Honourable Prime Minister"

14:21 (IST)26 Apr 2018
'Kerala has received adequate representation in SC'

Prasad has also told the CJI that Kerala has received adequate represenation in the Supreme Court and as Chief Justices of High Courts. "At this stage, elevation of one more judge from Kerala High Court as a judge of the Supreme Court of India does not appear to be justified as it does not address the legitimate claims of the Chief Justices and Puisne Judges of many other High Courts and forestalls the claim of other senior Chief Justices and Puisne Judges."

14:15 (IST)26 Apr 2018
'What is holding up Justice Joseph's appointment?'
13:55 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Threat to judiciary, says Congress

At the press conference, Sibal further said that the government was treading dangerously and the judiciary was under threat. "The independence of the judiciary is under threat. The government wants to pack courts with judges of its choice," he said.

13:51 (IST)26 Apr 2018
CPM too questions govt decision to not clear Joseph's appointment

The CPM Thursday said the government's decision to not clear the appointment of Justice K M Joseph was an unwarranted intrusion into the selection process of a judge. The Opposition party argued that it will affect the independence of the judiciary. It further demanded the intervention of President Ram Nath Kovind.

13:44 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Ravi Shankar Prasad says Joseph isn't seniormost

In his letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Joseph is the forty-second in all India seniority of High Court judges and eleventh in seniority of High Court chief justices.

13:40 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Congress takes on govt over KM Joseph elevation

The Congress Party today held a press conference where it questioned why the government has been refusing to clear the appointment of Justice KM Joseph despite his name being cleared by the Supreme Court collegium.

The government in a letter to CJI Dipak Misra said the proposed appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a Judge of the Supreme Court at this stage does not appear to be appropriate. Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph's name was recommended to the government by the Supreme Court Collegium along with that of Malhotra. Both names were proposed by the five-judge Collegium, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, at its last meeting on January 10.

Justice K M Joseph had struck down the Centre’s order to impose President’s Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. Ever since, the Collegium’s recommendation for Justice Joseph’s transfer to Andhra Pradesh and then his elevation to the Supreme Court has been blocked by the central government.

If his name is returned, the Collegium can reiterate his name which will make it incumbent upon the government to issue a warrant for his appointment to the Supreme Court.

Late Wednesday evening, the government cleared the name of Senior advocate Indu Malhotra, who will become the first woman to be elevated to the post of a Supreme Court judge directly from the Bar. Malhotra received the Presidential warrant, or requisite clearance to take oath as a Supreme Court judge. Her swearing-in is scheduled Friday.

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