SC collegium to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name for elevation

Uttarakhand high court K M Joseph in New Delhi

Uttarakhand high court K M Joseph in New Delhi

Here's all you need to know about the crisis that has become a direct confrontation between the Centre and the Supreme Court. There are some indications that separate files could be sent - one for Justice K M Joseph's name and the other for more judges.

The principal opposition party termed the government's move "revenge politics" and alleged that the Centre was "appointing judges only of its own choice".

However, the collegium also decided that the said reiteration should be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation for which detailed discussion is required. The government seemed to suggest that justice Joseph's elevation would be at their expense. But Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Law Minister, has denied these allegations. In a strongly worded letter to CJI Misra, Justice Kurian Joseph said the "very life and existence" of the Supreme Court was under threat and "history will not pardon us", if the court doesn't respond to the government sitting on the recommendation. If the Collegium sends it back a second time, as in the present case, the Centre is bound to accept the recommendation.

The government had returned Justice Joseph's name, while approving designated senior advocate Indu Malhotra's elevation, prompting commentators to accuse the government of vindictiveness.

In view of this, "the meeting", it said, "stands deferred for being held at 4.45 pm on Wednesday, 16th May, 2018".

It is pertinent to mention that Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the apex court, had on May 9 written a letter to the CJI urging him to convene the Collegium meet to urgently forward Justice Joseph's name to the Centre. The PIL has also sought a direction to the Centre to issue warrants of appointment for justice Joseph with consequential seniority. Chelameswar retires on 22 June and the next meeting could well be his last, since the court breaks for summer vacation on 18 May. However, the Congress later withdrew the petition from the apex court after the chief justice referred it to a Constitution bench.

Justice Kurian Joseph, during his visit to Kerala last week, had also reportedly made it clear that he was in favour of reiterating the recommendation of the Collegium on the issue concerning the Uttarakhand Chief Justice. 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. Both recommendations were sent together to the government on 10 January.

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