The Supreme Court Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph to meet tomorrow to consider the re-recommendation for Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice K.M. Joseph's elevation to the Supreme Court, reports NDTV
On May 1, the collegium deferred its decision and passed the following resolution;
“To reconsider the case of Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [PHC: Kerala], pursuant to letters dated 26th & 30th April, 2018 received from Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India and also to consider the names of Judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, in view of the concept of fair representation. Deferred”
The Centre had rejected the recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph on April 26, 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.
Justice Joseph's appointment has been in the pipeline for quite some time now. As Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Joseph had pronounced a judgment quashing the President’s rule imposed in the State of Uttarakhand. The Collegium had then, in May, 2016, recommended his transfer from Uttarakhand High Court to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. However, this hasn't materialized yet. Thereafter, last year in February, Justice Chelameswar had also questioned Justice K.M. Joseph's exclusion from the recommendations for elevation to the Apex Court.