SC Collegium To Reiterate Justice KM Joseph's Name For SC Elevation

Justice KM Joseph's Elevation as Supreme Court Judge Recommended Again by Collegium

Along with Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Jospeh, the name of Justice Indu Malhotra had also been recommended by the court which was cleared by the government.

The crisis that came to light through a rare press meet convened by four senior judges of the apex court in January escalated recently after the Centre returned the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium to elevate Uttarakhand High Court chief justice K M Joseph as a judge of the top court.

The Collegium, in a resolution, said there was need for further discussion on the issue of sending the other names to the Centre and chose to meet again on May 16.

Chelameswar said the collegium should reiterate its recommendation to the government that Justice Joseph be elevated to the top court.

Earlier on April 26, the government had rejected the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph.

The collegium also made a decision to send few more names taking into consideration the fact that there are seven vacancies to be filled in the apex court and five judges who are retiring shortly. "We have simply asked for reconsideration", he said, adding that the Centre's response is not linked to Justice Joseph being part of the Uttarakhand HC bench in 2016 which ruled against the government. It had previously met on May 2 but deferred its decision on the matter. It also argued that Justice Joseph's parent high court, the one in Kerala, was over-represented in the apex court.

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The collegium consists of five judges: the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Bhimrao Lokur.

Though Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, wasn't present at the meeting, he backed reiteration of the name.

Apart from Joseph, the other names that the collegium considered were Indira Banerjee, now chief justice of the Madras HC, who is originally from the Calcutta HC; Gujarat HC chief justice R. Subhash Reddy, who is originally from the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh HC; and Karnataka HC chief justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who is originally from the Rajasthan HC.

It is important for all members of the collegium to be on board as the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in the Third Judges Case specifies that the reiteration of a name must be unanimous and not a vote by majority.

Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the collegium, also questioned the Centre's move saying it was unprecedented and needed more detailed discussions.

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