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Published On: Fri, May 11th, 2018

Justice K M Joseph’s Elevation may be reiterated with others

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chief-justice-of-uttarakhand-high-court-joseph_7731b000-4db5-11e8-a9dc-143d85bacf22NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court Collegium will not reiterate Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph’s name alone. Reports suggest that KM Joseph’s name may be reiterated after other names are finalised.
Next collegium meet has been scheduled for May 16, 2018. The Supreme Court collegium, or a group of five most-senior judges, met today to take a call on Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to the top court that was rejected by the government in April.
This is the collegium’s second meeting to firm up its response to the centre’s decision that has set up a face-off between the judiciary and the executive and has been described as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad denies that the centre’s decision had anything to do with the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice’s 2016 verdict cancelling President’s rule in the state. Mr Prasad calls it a legitimate exercise of the powers granted by the top court in several rulings.
At its meeting last week, the country’s five top judges were learnt to have decided to draft a point-by-point rejoinder to the centre that questioned their choice. But it also discussed names of judges from three other high courts in view of what the court called, was the “concept of fair representation”.
One of the grounds citd by the government  was that Justice Joseph’s elevation would increase the number of judges from the Kerala High Court to two though there were many high courts which didn’t have a single judge in the top court’s bench. The other was that Justice Joseph was not among the senior high court chief justices.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s decision to convene the meeting came just a day after Justice Jasti Chelameswar wrote to him. The letter sought an early meeting of the collegium to enable them to reiterate its recommendation to elevate the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.
The letter from the Supreme Court’s most senior judge next to the Chief Justice also outlined why he thought that the objections raised by the government to block Justice KM Joseph’s promotion were not valid.In early January, the group of the country’s five judges had a
sked the government to appoint Justice Joseph and senior lawyer Indu Malhotra to the Supreme Court. The government acted on the second recommendation and appointed Justice Indu Malhotra but red-flagged the first.(With Agency Inputs).

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