The government had on April 26 declined to accept the recommendation of the Collegium and asked it to reconsider Justice KM Joseph’s name.
Justice K M Joseph, who had headed the bench that had quashed the Narendra Modi government’s decision to impose President’s rule in the Congress-ruled hill state in 2016, was not considered to be elevated as a Supreme Court judge by the Centre which said the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails.
His seniority was also questioned by the Centre which said, “he stands at Sl. No.45 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis.”
A crucial meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium is likely to take place on Wednesday to reconsider the name of the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation as a judge of the apex court which was sent back by the government last week, an official said on Tuesday.
The five-member collegium, comprising Chief Justice Misra and justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, is likely to discuss threadbare the note sent to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad while returning the file relating to the recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph as an apex court judge.
Justice Joseph’s name was recommended along with the senior advocate Indu Malhotra on January 10 for their elevation as apex court judges. The government had on April 26 declined to accept the recommendation of the Collegium and asked it to reconsider his name.
Malhotra was sworn in as the judge of the apex court on April 27.
Justice Joseph, who turns 60 this June, has been the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court since July 2014. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala High Court on October 14, 2004 and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand High Court on July 31, 2014.
The members of the collegium including Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph had expressed concern over the delay in clearing the name of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice as the apex court judge.
Notwithstanding the letters written by the collegium members to the CJI, which had come into the public domain, the centre disregarded the recommendation about Justice Joseph.