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Collegium defers its decision on Justice Joseph

Collegium defers its decision on Justice Joseph”

The Supreme Court's five-member collegium headed by CJI Dipak Misra on Wednesday could not reach a consensus on names to be recommended for appointment as SC judges, along with reiteration of the proposal to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph to the apex court.

Justice Joseph is the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.

"In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend, for the present, that Mr. Justice Ramchandra Singh Jhala, Additional Judge be appointed as Permanent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court against one of the existing vacancies". The Collegium made a decision to take up the names of the other judges for elevation.

Several jurists, former judges and sdvocates have since then stepped forth, calling out the Centre for the move, and demanding reiteration of the recommendation by the Collegium. The collegium's decision taken in 2016 remains unimplemented to date. Thereafter, last week, it had unanimously agreed to re-recommend him, but had made a decision to take the final call on May 16.

Besides Justice Joseph, the collegium had on January 10 also recommended the appointment of Senior Counsel (now a Judge) Indu Malhotra to the Supreme Court.

A source in the apex court said the collegium had initially discussed sending back the file of Justice Joseph first and not wait till the other names are finalised. The Centre had said Justice Joseph's "comparatively small" parent High Court of Kerala was already "adequately represented" in the apex court and among High Court Chief Justices. With Justice Chelameswar retiring on June 22 and Thursday being his last working day, the meeting can be held after the induction of Justice A.K. Sikri soon after the retirement of Justice Chelameswar.

The government had also flagged the issue of non-representation of SC/ST judges in the apex court.

The collegium during its last meeting on May 11 had taken an in-principle decision to reiterate its recommendation for the elevation of Justice Joseph to the top court. While returning the name of Justice Joseph, the government cleared Justice Malhotra's appointment. The Law Minister has denied that his elevation is being resisted because of this. Ex-CJI R M Lodha said that the government's "segregation" of the recommendations "strikes at the very heart of the independence of the judiciary".



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