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Collegium Likely To Reiterate Justice KM Joseph’s Elevation: Justice Kurian Joseph

The five-judge forum is expected to decide on the issue on May 2.

The Modi government may be sitting pretty hoping its decision is not going to be challenged to reject the Collegium’s recommendation of elevating Uttarakhand High Court chief justice KM Joseph to Supreme Court, especially after CJI Dipak Misra said the Centre had the right to reject the recommendation.

But, in news that points to the contrary, Supreme Court judge Kurien Joseph, a member of the Collegium, has indicated that the preeminent judges’ panel “is likely to send back to the government its recommendation on Justice Joseph’s name for his elevation as a Supreme Court judge.”

“The Collegium might have to reiterate its recommendation furnishing facts and figures, and citing precedent, which have not been put in perspective by the Government when it returned his name,” Justice Kurian Joseph told The Indian Express.

The Collegium is a forum, comprising the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, which recommends appointments and transfers of judges. If it reiterates its recommendation of elevating Justice KM Joseph, the Centre will have no choice but accept the proposal.

CJI Dipak Misra has reportedly fixed a Collegium meeting for Wednesday (May 2). “Although no formal agenda for the Collegium meeting has been spoken about,” Financial Express reported, “it is expected that it will mainly be about the reconsideration of Justice Joseph’s, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, name for elevation to the Supreme Court.”

Justice Kurian Joseph had written a letter to the CJI urging him to act on non-appointment of judges by the Centre even before Justice KM Joseph’s elevation was rejected by the Centre.

The “very life and existence” of the Supreme Court of India is under threat and “history will not pardon us” if the court doesn’t respond to the government’s unprecedented act of sitting on the collegium’s recommendation to elevate a judge and a senior advocate to the apex court, Justice Kurian Joseph said in the letter.

“The government owes a duty to take a call on the recommendation as soon as the same is sent from the Collegium. Failure to discharge their duty by sitting over on the recommendations of the Collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is an abuse of power,” he said in the letter to the CJI. “More than anything else, it sends a wrong message which is loud and clear to all Judges down the line not to cause any displeasure to the Executive lest they should suffer. Is this not a threat to the independence of the judiciary?”

Appealing for intervention by the CJI, Justice Joseph stated “if there is no normal delivery on completion of the gestation period, what is urgently done is a Caesarean section. Unless such a surgical intervention is made at an appropriate time, the child in the womb dies.”

In an unprecedented move on January 12, four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court, including Justice Kurian Joseph, had addressed a press conference and complained that the administration of the country’s top court was not in order. The judges had said there was an urgent need to preserve the judiciary system to save the democracy of the country.

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