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SC Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Josephs elevation

03 May 2018

All five judges, including Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, attended the meeting and have signed the resolution.

The statement said that the decision was "deferred" and did not give the next date of the meeting of the collegium.

Sources, however, told this newspaper that wide range of issues relating to appointment of judges from High Courts, which did not have representation, was discussed which remained inconclusive.

As chief justice of Uttarakhand high court he had stuck down the move of central government to impose president rule in the state.

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.

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In a statement, the apex court said it took note of the letters it received from the Centre on 26 and 30 April.

"I wish to deny with all authority at my command". Firstly, a proper (BJP-led) government with almost three-fourth majority has been elected in Uttarakhand.

Justice Joseph's name was recommended along with the senior advocate Indu Malhotra on January 10 for their elevation as Supreme Court judges.

Taking the example of Justice Khehar, who had set aside the National Judicial Commission initiative, Prasad said that he too became Chief Justice of India during BJP-led NDA government.

The members of the collegium including Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph had expressed concern over the delay of the government in clearing the name of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice as the apex court judge.

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A second person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to Hindustan Times that so far the collegium had not decided whether to return the name of justice Joseph to the government for elevation.

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

After putting on hold justice Joseph's elevation, law minister wrote to the CJI that it would "not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable, and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various high courts".

This is because clubbing these two in a single resolution could given the Centre the option of perpetually sitting on Joseph's appointment while asking the President to issue warrants to others who are recommended by the collegium. With the Supreme Court facing a large number of vacancies, making it hard for the CJI to constitute adequate number of benches to deal with over 50,000 pending cases, the agenda circulated among the judges appeared to recognise the need for expeditious filling up of seven vacancies in the SC, which would with the retirement of Justice R K Agrawal on Friday increase to eight, by mentioning about fair representation to HCs which have not a single or less than adequate representation in the apex court at present.

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SC Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Josephs elevation