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Collegium meet on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to SC concludes

14 May 2018

Justice Kurian Joseph, the fourth-most senior judge in the apex court and part of the Collegium, said "some of our worst fears are coming true" with the government selectively approving the recommendations made for elevation.

The Supreme Court Collegium at its meeting on Friday, May 11, agreed to reiterate its recommendation for appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge, along with names of some other High Court chief justices. The Collegium also considered the names of additional judges for elevation and is expected to reiterate the name of Justice Joseph along with them in the next meeting on May 16. "It would also not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable and deserving chief justices and senior puisne judges of various high courts", the government had stated while rejecting his name. The Centre had returned Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration last month even as it accepted the other pick, Indu Malhotra, a segregation which was seen as having been influenced by the high court chief justice's 2017 verdict striking down imposition of President's rule in the state.

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It decided that his name "should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of chief justices of high courts for elevation" to the Supreme Court.

The parent High Court of Justice Joseph is Kerala High Court.

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Even before Friday's decision, members of the Collegium had given indications of a possible unanimity on the name of returning the recommendation of Justice Joseph.

However, Justice Gogoi, who will succeed CJI Misra on October 3, and Justice Lokur agreed with the CJI that when there were seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, it would be improper for the collegium to send only one name to the government. If the Collegium sends it back a second time, as in the present case, the Centre is bound to accept the recommendation. Justice Chelameswar reiterated the decision to elevate Justice Joseph as a judge of the SC, saying there was no change in the circumstances that led the collegium to recommend his name to the government in January this year. During his tenure as chief judge, the court undertook a number of measures to improve accessibility to the court and the effectiveness of court procedures.

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It is also learnt that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

Collegium meet on Justice KM Joseph's elevation to SC concludes