It’s been almost two months since the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in a concerted voice suggested the elevation of Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph and Indu Malhotra to the apex court.
But today, the Centre returned the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph as a Supreme Court judge, saying 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 hails. Also Read: Govt writes to CJI, says elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court not appropriate at this stage
The Supreme Court also termed the plea of senior advocate Indira Jaising to stay Malhotra’s appointment as “unimaginable”, “unconscionable” and “never heard of”, adding that Constitutional propriety demands that the warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra be implemented.
Even as the Centre returned the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph’s to the top court, here’s looking back at his career:
Carrying the legacy of his late father Justice K. K. Mathew, who was a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice K M Joseph served as a permanent judge of the Kerala High Court from 2004 to 2014. On July 31, 2014, he was sworn in as the ninth Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.
Studied law from Government Law College, Ernakulam, Justice Joseph enrolled himself as a lawyer in 1982, starting his legal practice from the Delhi High Court.
Justice Joseph has passed judgments with far-reaching political implications. In a ruling in 2016, he had cancelled President’s rule in Uttarakhand and brought back the Congress government of Harish Rawat to power. The judgment was seen as major set back to the BJP-ruled government at the Centre.
As a judge of the Kerala High Court, Justice Joseph had passed an order to demolish the Kapico resorts built on a private island at Nediyathuruthu near Alappuzha which was constructed illegally.
In February 2017, the collegium had recommended five names of judges for elevation to the top court and Justice J Chelameswar had written a dissent note, raising serious concerns and objections over dropping Justice Joseph’s name from the list of recommendations.
“Justice Joseph is an outstanding judge with impeccable integrity and the most suitable judge for elevation to the Supreme Court,” Chelameswar wrote. “By not elevating a highly competent judge like Justice Joseph, the collegium was setting an unhealthy precedent,” he added in the note.