Collegium meet on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to SC concludes

Collegium meet on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to SC concludes

Collegium meet on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to SC concludes

The central government returned the recommendation for reconsideration of justice Joseph's elevation saying that the jurist stood at number 42 in seniority among high court judges and there were 11 chief justices of different high courts who were senior to him.

An important meeting of the Supreme Court collegium was held on Friday to discuss the issue the reiteration of Justice Joseph for elevation to the apex court following the rejection from the Centre.

The face-off had begun when the collegium on January 10, 2018 while recommending Joseph's name stated that they found Justice KM Joseph to be "more deserving and suitable in all respects than other chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court of India" The collegium in its resolution uploaded on its website said they had "considered Joseph's merit and integrity".

The Centre cleared Justice Malhotra's file, but sent Justice Joseph's file back to the collegium and asked it to reconsider its recommendation.

However, Justice Gogoi, who will succeed CJI Misra on October 3, and Justice Lokur agreed with the CJI that when there were seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, it would be improper for the collegium to send only one name to the government. In a strongly worded letter to CJI Misra, Justice Kurian Joseph said the "very life and existence" of the Supreme Court was under threat and "history will not pardon us", if the court doesn't respond to the government sitting on the recommendation.

Critics, however, sought to link the government's decision not to return Justice K M Joseph's name to his 2016 decision to overturn President's rule imposed by the NDA government in Uttarakhand.

While asking for reconsideration, the Centre argued that Justice Joseph was way too junior in the all-India seniority list of judges and that his parent HC, Kerala, was adequately represented through Justice Kurian Joseph. Chelameswar retires on 22 June and the next meeting could well be his last, since the court breaks for summer vacation on 18 May.

The crisis took a new turn on April 20 when seven opposition parties submitted a petition seeking impeachment of justice Mishra to vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, with signatures from 71 parliamentarians. However, the Congress later withdrew the petition from the apex court after the chief justice referred it to a Constitution bench. A wide range of issues relating to appointment of judges from High Courts, which did not have representation, was discussed, which remained inconclusive.

However, there would be no time frame for the government to implement the collegium's recommendation, the experts reportedly said.

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