SC to reiterate name, but later

SC to reiterate name, but later

SC to reiterate name, but later

Along with Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Jospeh, the name of Justice Indu Malhotra had also been recommended by the court which was cleared by the government.

At the meeting of Collegium - the topmost decision-making body of the Supreme Court - the five senior-most judges, including Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously agreed to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name to Centre for elevation as apex court judge.

Since the identification of names of chief justices of high courts will require fresh deliberations within the collegium, it was decided that the CJI and the next four senior judges would meet again on May 16 to finalise other candidates.

A crucial meeting of the collegium on Friday sent out strong signals that the controversy is not going to die down soon with the top body unanimously agreeing in principle to reiterate the recommendation for the elevation of justice Joseph. Also on the agenda then was considering names of judges from High Courts of Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh for elevation to the apex court "in view of the concept of fair representation".

On April 26, the government returned for reconsideration the collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice K M Joseph but notified the appointment of Malhotra as a judge. Currently, there are 25 judges in the apex court, still short of its actual strength by six members.

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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.

Earlier on May 2, the Collegium had met on the issue but had deferred its decision.

The three prevailed over Justices Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph and asserted that the serious issue of nonrepresentation of several HCs in the SC should be considered as it was incongruous with the two Constitution bench judgments in 1993 and 1998 which created the collegium system. One, that he was not senior enough as he stood at number 42 in the seniority list, and second, that he hailed from Kerala, a state which already has enough representation in the SC.

In a detailed note to chief justice of India justice Dipak Mishra, the government said that the proposal to reconsider justice Joseph's name had the approval of president Ram Nath Kovind and prime minister Narendra Modi.

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

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