The Supreme Court Collegium on Wednesday deferred its decision to reconsider the name of the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation as a judge of the apex court which was sent back by the government last week. All the five judges including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph took part in the meeting.
Besides Justice Joseph, the agenda of the Collegium was to deliberate on the names of some judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as apex court judges.
The Collegium resolution said it met “to consider the following agenda:’To reconsider the case of Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [PHC:Kerala], pursuant to letters dated 26th & 30th April, 2018 received from Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India and also to consider the names of Judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, in view of the concept of fair representation.’Deferred,”.
Justice K M Joseph’s name was recommended along with the 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 his name.
Subsequently, Indu Malhotra was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on April 27. Justice K M Joseph, who had headed the bench that had quashed the Narendra Modi government’s decision to impose President’s rule in the Congress-ruled hill state in 2016, was not considered to be elevated as a Supreme Court judge by the Centre which said the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he belongs.
The Centre also called into question Justice Joseph’s seniority which said “he stands at Sl. No.45 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis.”
Justice Joseph, who turns 60 this June, has been the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court since July 2014. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala High Court on October 14, 2004 and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand High Court on July 31, 2014.
(With PTI inputs)