SC Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Josephs elevation


CJI Misra was of the view that judges from the high courts of Rajasthan, Calcutta and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana should be considered along with the proposal to elevate Justice Joseph, the person said on condition of anonymity. With the Supreme Court facing a large number of vacancies, making it hard for the CJI to constitute adequate number of benches to deal with over 50,000 pending cases, the agenda circulated among the judges appeared to recognise the need for expeditious filling up of seven vacancies in the SC, which would with the retirement of Justice R K Agrawal on Friday increase to eight, by mentioning about fair representation to HCs which have not a single or less than adequate representation in the apex court at present. He further added that the government has the right to seek reconsideration of the names proposed for election to the apex court granted to the government by the Supreme Court judgments itself.

Justice Chelameswar had not come to court today but attended the collegium meeting. "Deferred", the resolution said.

The Collegium discussed threadbare the note sent by the Union Law Ministry on April 26 and April 30 while returning the file relating to the recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph as apex court judge.

Malhotra was sworn in as the judge of the apex court on 27 April.

Justice Joseph's name was recommended along with then senior advocate Indu Malhotra on 10 January for their elevation as apex court judges.

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The Supreme Court collegium has "deferred" a decision on Justice K.M. Joseph, whose elevation as a Supreme Court judge has been held up as the Centre had returned the recommendation last week. One of the reasons cited was that his parent High Court of Kerala already had a representation in Justice Kurian Joseph, while many high courts had no representation in the Supreme Court.

His seniority was also questioned by the Centre which had said "he stands at Sl".

The Centre's rejection of Justice KM Joseph's name triggered a huge outcry with several legal luminaries alleging that this was a payback by the Centre for the judgement by Justice Joseph, striking down Presidential Rule in the State of Uttarakhand High Court.

Three of the others said they needed time to respond to other names proposed by the CJI and also to decide if a consolidated list of the four names should be sent to the government or just the name of Justice Joseph. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala high court on 14 October 2004 and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand high court on 31 July 2014.

Earlier on Monday, Justice Kurian Joseph had told The Indian Express that the collegium is most likely to resubmit Justice K M Joseph's recommendation.