SC collegium defers decision on Justice Joseph

The big news SC collegium to decide on KM Joseph’s elevation today and nine other top stories

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The sources cited paucity of time - the collegium also discussed plans to elevate more judges, in addition to Justice Joseph, from the high courts to the Supreme Court during the 30-minute meeting - and an attempt to carefully consider the government's opinion as the reasons for deferring the decision.

It had also raised the principle of proportionality contending that Kerala High Court was a "comparatively small High Court" with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges and was a parent High Court for the top court judge Justice Kurian Joseph, the Chief Justices of three High Courts - Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).

The Collegium's move to defer its decision on Justice KM Joseph comes almost a week after the Centre rejected its recommendation to elevate the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice as an apex court judge and asked it to reconsider its choice.

All five judges, including Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, attended the meeting and have signed the resolution.

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An official said since other names were also on the agenda of the meeting, modalities were to be worked out as to whether Justice Josephs name will be sent to the government along with the others. SC sources said the collegium members "simply made a decision to defer deliberations on the case relating to Justice Joseph and adequate representation to three HCs".

The Centre, through a letter sent to the chief justice by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said many High Courts did not have any representation in the Supreme Court.

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

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

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Jaising told the court that the government was stalling justice Joseph's elevation because as chief justice of the Uttarakhand high court, he had quashed the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016, leading to the reinstatement of the Congress party government led by Harish Rawat.

After putting on hold justice Joseph's elevation, law minister wrote to the CJI that it would "not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable, and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various high courts". 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.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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