The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday once again deferred the decision to re-recommend Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice K.M. Joseph for elevation to the Supreme Court.
According to reports, the candidature of Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari were also considered by the Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph.
This is the third time that the Collegium has deferred its decision on Justice Joseph's elevation since the Centre rejected its recommendation last month noting that it would “not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable and deserving Chief Justices and senior Puisne Judges of various High Courts.”
This was despite the fact that while recommending him in January, the resolution signed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph had stated that they found Justice K.M. Joseph to be “more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior Puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India.”
The resolution had, in fact, specifically mentioned that the decision was being taken after considering the combined seniority of Chief Justices and senior Puisne Judges of High Courts, apart from their merit and integrity.
Several jurists, former Judges and Advocates have since then stepped forth, calling out the Centre for the move, and demanding reiteration of the recommendation by the Collegium.
The Collegium had then once earlier this month deferred its decision on the issue. Thereafter, last week, it had unanimously agreed to re-recommend him, but had decided to take the final call on 16 May.