SC Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Joseph's elevation, seeks more time

The big news SC collegium to decide on KM Joseph’s elevation today and nine other top stories

During the day, uncertainty prevailed over whether the collegium meeting would take place as Justice Chelameswar did not attend the court.

The Supreme Court's five-member collegium on Wednesday met briefly but adjourned for next week its discussion on the Centre's rejection of the candidature of Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court K M Joseph for elevation to the highest court.

The SC website used a single word, "Deferred", to describe the outcome of the much-awaited meeting of the collegium: the first since the Centre last month segregated its recommendations for the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra to the apex court and for elevation of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice. SC sources said the collegium members "simply chose to defer deliberations on the case relating to Justice Joseph and adequate representation to three HCs".

The government had on April 26 declined to accept the recommendation of the Collegium and asked it to reconsider his name.

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Besides Justice Jospeph, the agenda of the Collegium was to deliberate on the names of some judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as apex court judges.

Indu Malhotra was sworn in as judge of the top court on April 27.

The government had said that the proposal for his name was not in accordance with the top courts parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails.

At a post cabinet briefing, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government decision to return the file of Justice Joseph had "nothing to do with his order quashing the President's Rule in Uttarakhand".

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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".

However, the Central government had said that he stood at number 42 in the seniority of High Court judges and there are 11 Chief Justices of different High Courts who are senior to him - a clear suggestion that his elevation to the Supreme Court would be at their expense. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala high court on 14 October 2004 and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand high court on 31 July 2014.

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.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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