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Published On: Thu, Apr 26th, 2018

Govt bound to appoint Joseph if collegium reiterates, say experts:

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km-joseph-indu-malhotraNEW DELHI : The Narendra Modi-led NDA government on Thursday sent back for reconsideration the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation for the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the apex court.

The collegium had recommended the names of Joseph and senior advocate Indu Malhotra for elevation to the Supreme Court. The latter’s elevation was accepted. Now, the Supreme Court collegium can either withdraw its recommendation on Joseph or choose to stick to it – in the latter case, it will be binding on the government to accept.
Earlier in the day, even as the recommendation had been on hold, the Congress party had said PM Modi’s “revenge politics” against the judiciary and “conspiratorial suffocation” of the Supreme Court had been exposed again. The Modi government had taken this step in retribution for quashing presidential rule in Uttarakhand, the Congress alleged.
The allegations came especially as the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a Supreme Court judge was readily accepted. Further, reports emerged that Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra was not consulted and the government unilaterally made its decision to “segregate” the recommendations made by the collegium for elevation.
On January 22, the Supreme Court collegium’s file recommending the elevations had reached the law ministry. Legal experts had cautioned the government against accepting one of the recommendations while keeping the other one on hold.

A Chief Justice of India had told the law ministry not to “segregate” names sent for appointment together. The government’s latest move came a day after it was reported that two senior judges of the Supreme Court – Ranjan Gogoi and M B Lokur – had urged CJI Misra to hold a full court to discuss the institutional issues plaguing the higher judiciary.
Further, days earlier, the Opposition caused a political storm by sending a notice to impeach CJI Misra which failed as Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu rejected it, sparking strong protests from the Congress, which said that it would move the Supreme Court over the matter.

The Top Court on Thursday refused to stay the presidential warrant appointing senior woman lawyer Indu Malhotra as an apex court judge and termed the plea of advocates“unimaginable,” “unthinkable,” “unconscionable” and “never heard before.”

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra took strong note of the submission of senior advocate Indira Jaising that Ms. Malhotra be not sworn in as judge and the Central government be directed to recommend the name of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph as well.
Dismissing claims that the government has “cherry-picked” Ms. Malhotra for appointment as Supreme Court judge over Justice Joseph, the CJI, heading a three-judge Bench, said it was “unthinkable, unimaginable, inconceivable” for the Supreme Court to stay the Presidential warrant for her appointment. (With Agency Inputs ),

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