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Collegium defers decision on elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court

Collegium defers decision on elevation of Justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred its decision on the issue of appointment of Justice KM Joseph.

All the five judges, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, took part in the meeting held a little while after normal business of the court ended at 4 pm.

Since the Centre had sent back the file, there was a necessity to apply "the principles of natural justice" while considering the suggestion of the government.

Besides Justice Jospeph, the agenda of the Collegium was to deliberate on the names of some judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as apex court judges.

"The proposal for reconsideration of the case of K.M. Joseph has the approval of President and Prime Minister", said the letter that was sent to the Chief Justice by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. SC sources said the collegium members "simply chose to defer deliberations on the case relating to Justice Joseph and adequate representation to three HCs".

There was no official word on when the Collegium would meet next.

After sitting over the collegium's recommendations for over three months, the Central government on April 26 cleared the name of senior lawyer Indu Malhotra (now judge) but returned the recommendation of Justice Joseph for reconsideration.

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Indu was sworn in as the judge of the Supreme Court on April 27.

Members of the collegium, which comprises the five senior-most Supreme Court judges and decides on appointments to the higher judiciary, then deferred the decision on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

Many former chief justices, including RM Lodha and TS Thakur, have openly said that the decision of the Centre was wrong and that the collegium should reiterate its decision to elevate Joseph in the interest of the independence of judiciary.

Many backers of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice have alleged that he is being penalised for his verdict striking down the dismissal of the Congress government in the state past year and are keen on his early elevation since the Centre will have no choice but to acquiesce to any reiteration by the collegium. 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.

The government had on 26 April declined to accept the recommendation of the collegium and asked it to reconsider his name.

Earlier on Monday, Justice Kurian Joseph had told The Indian Express that the collegium is most likely to resubmit Justice K M Joseph's recommendation.

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


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