Collegium likely to repeat recommendation for Justice KM Joseph to SC…

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The Supreme Court Collegium on Friday reiterated its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to Supreme Court.

The Collegium, in a resolution, said there was need for further discussion on the issue of sending the other names to the Centre and chose to meet again on May 16.

The meeting will be held at the Supreme Court at 1300 hrs.

Two weeks after the Modi government, sitting on the recommendation for almost four months, sought reconsideration of Joseph's name saying it was in "violation of SC's parameters on seniority and merit", the collegium "in principle" unanimously agreed to reiterate his name for elevation. "It would also not be fair to other more senior, suitable and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various HCs".

They indicated that sending Justice Joseph's nomination along with the fresh recommendations would only give the government another opportunity to delay clearing his elevation by saying it would be approved along with the candidatures of the other nominees.

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On May 2, too, the collegium had met and informally agreed on reaffirming Justice Joseph's candidature but deferred a formal decision.

During the deliberations today, sources said those high court judges who are in the race to be elevated to the apex court are Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee, who is originally from the Calcutta HC, Gujarat HC Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy, whose parent cadre is Telangana and Andhra Pradesh HC, and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who is originally from Rajasthan HC.

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.

Rejecting the recommendation, Prasad wrote, "The appointment of Justice K M Joseph as an SC judge does not appear to be appropriate". It is learnt that the government has to follow the guidelines laid down by the apex court in its 1993 and 1998 judgements relating to the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

Apart from Joseph, the other names that the collegium considered were Indira Banerjee, now chief justice of the Madras HC, who is originally from the Calcutta HC; Gujarat HC chief justice R. Subhash Reddy, who is originally from the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh HC; and Karnataka HC chief justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who is originally from the Rajasthan HC. Prior to this, another Collegium member, Justice Kurian Joseph had openly backed the recommendation of the Collegium to elevate the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.

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