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

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

"The resolution added that "...the said reiteration should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, for which detailed discussion is required".

It all harks back to the non-appointment of Justice K M Joseph, Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Supreme Court bench as the Collegium had recommended.

In his letter, sent Wednesday, Chelameswar referred to the collegium meeting held on 2 May, when it chose to defer reconsidering the elevation of Joseph, following letters dated 26 and 30 April received from the union law ministry.

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. In 2010, Justice Crabtree was appointed chief judge and he served in this capacity until his appointment to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

"While Justice Joseph's nomination had been cleared by the collegium on January 11, the others are yet to be approved - so they are on a different footing", a source said.

Justice Joseph headed the Uttarakhand HC bench that had quashed the President rule imposed by the Central government in 2016, a year before the elections.

The reiteration of Justice Joseph's candidature can now be sent to the government earliest by May 16, provided the collegium can agree on all the fresh recommendations on that day, or later.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra called a meeting of the collegium - comprising the five senior-most judges of the top court, Friday after Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second most senior judge, wrote another letter asking for a meeting to reiterate Joseph's name. 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. It is believed that just sending Justice K M Joseph's name back would have suggested that the apex court was directly challenging the Centre and so, a middle-of-the-road course was adopted.

Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, was also understood to have 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.

The meeting of the Collegium was expected to take place on May 9 but Justice Chelameswar was on leave.