The government has decided to accept the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the Supreme Court.
The SC collegium had recommended on 10 January the elevation of Justice Joseph to the apex court. The five-member collegium—comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph—had said: “The collegium considers that at present Justice K.M. Joseph is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of the high courts for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court.”
The SC collegium consists of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the apex court.
Technically, the government cannot return the collegium’s reference, but it can always indulge in dilatory tactics, an official in the Law Ministry told this correspondent
It had also recommended the appointment of senior counsel Indu Malhotra to the Supreme Court. While the government cleared Justice Malhotra’s appointment, it returned the name of Justice Joseph on the grounds of seniority and the disproportionate representation of Kerela, Justice K.M. Joseph native state.
The government decision attracted a great deal of adverse comment; the detractors alleged that Justice Joseph was denied the elevation because a Bench of the Uttarakhand High Court had quashed the imposition of President’s rule in the state after the dismissal of the Congress government in 2016.
In its May 11 meeting, the collegium decided in-principle to reiterate its recommendation for Justice Joseph’s elevation. The Collegium is yet to refer its decision to the government though. When it does so, the government would be bound to accept it.
Technically, the government cannot return the collegium’s reference, but it can always indulge in dilatory tactics, an official in the Law Ministry told this correspondent. For instance, it can sit on the file for a long time. The official said that government has no intentions of delaying Justice Joseph’s elevation.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.