Mixed reactions on Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph's Transfer
Whether Justice K M Joseph’s transfer to Andhra Pradesh High court from Uttarakhand High court, two weeks after his judgment highly critical of the Central Government, is a coincidence or is there more to it ? Speculations are on, with Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate alleging that it is politically motivated, on one side and Justice Markandey Katju saying that it is not, on the other.
When this news of transfer of Justice Joseph broke, Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, responded to it on twitter “Death of independence of judiciary Justice Mathew who authored the Uttaranchal Judgement transferred to AP, what is the explanation for this? Was our faith in the judiciary misplaced? Why are judges who write judgments against the government at the Center being transferred? First Justice Shakdar who authored the Priya Pillai judgement was transferred, then Justice Mathew who wrote the Uttaranchal judgement.”
Death of independence of judiciary Justice Mathew who authored the Uttaranchal Judgement transferred to AP,what is the explanation for this?
— indira jaising (@IJaising) May 4, 2016
Today morning Justice Markandey Katju, Former Judge of Supreme Court, wrote on Facebook “I enquired from reliable sources about the reason for the transfer of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice, Justice Joseph, to Andhra Pradesh, since some people alleged it was for political reason. The transfer was not because of some judicial order he passed. It was because of health reasons. Naini Tal, where the Uttaranchal High Court is situated, is at a height of 6000 ft. Ever since he came to Uttarakhand in July 2014 Justice Joseph has been having health problems, probably because of his heart condition. The transfer, on the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium, was for this reason. It was not politically motivated.”
Responding to queries whether Justice Joseph himself had requested transfer, Justice Katju says “Justice Joseph made a request to the Supreme Court for his transfer on health grounds.”
Indira Jaising, apparently reacting to this, today tweeted “we are told that the transfer of Justice Mathew was for health reasons, SC must make public the minutes of its meeting disclosing reasons.”
Live Law had first reported the news of transfer of Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court Justice KM Joseph to Andhra Pradesh High Court. Justice K.M.Joseph was in news recently since the bench headed by him had quashed the president’s Rule in the State. Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Andhra Pradesh Dilip B Bhosale will be the new Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh as Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice Ajay Manik Rao Khanwilkar is likely to be elevated to the Supreme Court.