Justice K M Joseph elevated as Supreme Court judge as Centre gives in to Collegium’s demand

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New Delhi | Updated: August 3, 2018 11:30:16 AM

Supreme Court Collegium had recommended Joseph's name on January 10, 2018 along with the name of senior counsel Indu Malhotra. Back then, the government had accepted Malhotra's elevation but returned the recommendation on Justice Joseph recommendation on April 26.

K M JosephAlong with K M Joseph, the central government is also likely to elevate Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Vineet Saran to the top Court.

In a major development in the country’s judiciary, Uttarakhand High Court judge Justice K M Joseph has been elevated to the Supreme Court after a prolonged standoff between the centre and Supreme Court collegium. The government has also given its nod to appoint Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Vineet Saran to the top court.

According to the report, the process towards the issuance of presidential warrants for their appointment to the Supreme Court has been set in motion. The development assumes significance after the reported stand-off between the judiciary and the central government over the issue of appointment of judges to the top court. Supreme Court Collegium had recommended Joseph’s name on January 10, 2018 along with the name of senior counsel Indu Malhotra. Back then, the government had accepted Malhotra’s elevation but returned the recommendation on Justice Joseph recommendation on April 26.

“The collegium, in a way, acknowledged the points flagged by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. In fact, by naming Justice Vineet Saran (parent High Court Allahabad) and Justice Indira Banerjee (parent HC Calcutta), the Collegium sought to address the seniority and regional representation concerns,” sources told IE. Apart from Joseph’s elevation, the government has also decided to go ahead with the Collegium’s recommendation for appointment of Chief Justices of several other High Courts across the country.

Four most senior judges of the Supreme Court — Justice (now retired) J Chelameswar, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had addressed a press conference on January 12 warning against the dangers of alleged executive interference in the judiciary and raising questions over the functioning of CJI Misra. Their press conference also suggested a divided judiciary in the face of a full-majority government at the Centre.

In July, the five-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said that there was “nothing adverse” regarding the suitability of Justice Joseph as has been pointed out in the letters of the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The resolution of the Collegium meeting held on July 16 and uploaded today said that the two letters written by the Prasad to the CJI while returning the recommendation of Joseph was “carefully considered”. Besides the CJI, other members of the Collegium are justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri.

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