The row over the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court continues to hit headlines, with senior judge Justice Kurian Joseph saying that the Supreme Court Collegium likely to send back to the Centre its recommendation.
The row over the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court continues to hit headlines, with senior judge Justice Kurian Joseph saying that the Supreme Court Collegium likely to send back to the Centre its recommendation. This comes days after the Centre had notified the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court but returned the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice K M Joseph. The Supreme Court had recommended both names on January 10.
Justice Kurian Joseph said that the Collegium might have to reiterate its recommendation furnishing facts and figures, and citing precedent, which has not been put in perspective by the government when it returned his name. Justice Kurian Joseph has claimed that this is not the first time this government has sat over KM Joseph’s file. “Justice Joseph had, two years ago, asked for a transfer to the plains on health grounds. He had health issues and had asked for a transfer to save himself from the biting cold in the hills and the Supreme Court had sent the file, transferring him to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. But the Government has kept silent on it till date,” he had said. Justice Joseph is due to retire on June 16, 2020, Kurian Joseph said.
The central government had cited four reasons while returning Justice K M Joseph’s name. These included – Joseph is at serial number 42 in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority List, Several High Courts are “not represented in the Supreme Court at present, Joseph’s parent High Court of Kerala has adequate representation in the Supreme Court and there is no representation of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities in the Supreme Court since long.
Notably, this is not the first time that Justice Kurian Joseph has raised his reservations on the matter. Earlier in April, he had written to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on the government’s delay in responding to the Collegium’s recommendation. In the letter, he had warned that the “very life and existence” of the Supreme Court was under threat. Justice Kurian Joseph is also one of the four senior judges, along with Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur, who held the much-debated press conference on January 12 to raise questions over the functioning of the Chief Justice of India, particularly on allocating cases. The four judges are part of the Collegium along with CJI Misra.