Supreme Court Collegium decides to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name to top court

Team SoOLEGAL 12 May 2018 1:02pm

Supreme Court Collegium decides to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name to top court

New Delhi: The SC collegium or a group of five most-senior judges met and decided to re-recommend the name of Uttarakhand's Chief Justice KM Joseph's name to top court. Apart from his name, name of three other judges from High Court were also discussed. This is the second collegium meet after the law ministry had sent back recommendation of Justice KM Joseph's appointment to SC for reconsideration of collegium. The first meeting over the matter proved to be inconclusive. In this meeting they decided to recommend Justice KM Joseph's name for elevation to the top court but they have decided to meet again on Wednesday to decide more names.

The recommendation made by the collegium, one of them was Indu Malhotra, which was accepted and she has since then been appointed SC judge and she has been duly hearing cases since then. The controversy is about Justice KM Joseph's name whose name was sent back for reconsideration. The Government said that he is not senior enough; there are other judges which are far higher in pegging order as compared to him. Another reason given was that his state cadre-Kerala has been adequately represented in the SC bench and it was time others were given representation.

But there has been speculation that his name has been sent for reconsideration as he had in 2016 given verdict cancelling president's rule in Uttarakhand, which enabled the Congress to remain in power.

In the collegium meet Judges had decided to draft a point-by-point rejoinder to the centre's objections to 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".

It is fairly usual for the centre to return the collegium's recommendation for appointment of high court judges. Infact in 2016, the centre told parliament that it had asked the collegium to reconsider 43 names for the high court. But it is indeed rare for the government to return the name of the judge recommended for elevation to top court.

The only other instance was in 2014 when government returned the name of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium but then CJI could not pursue as Gopal Subramanium withdrew his name from judgeship.

If the collegium sends back a name a second time, the centre has no choice but to accept it. Already the Supreme Court is down to 24 judges as against the strength of 31, sanctioned by Parliament. Five more judges are slated to retire this year.

Tagged: SC   Collegium   Centre   Law Ministry   Uttarakhand High Court  
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