Defying Centre, Collegium re-proposes KM Joseph's elevation as SC judgeLast updated on Jul 20, 2018, 05:57 pm
Three months after the government passed over Uttarakhand HC Judge KM Joseph's name for elevation to the SC, the Collegium has reiterated his name again.
Joining him in the list of proposed names are Madras HC Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Odisha HC Chief Justice Vineet Saran.
The Centre had returned Joseph's name before, but the Collegium's move makes its decision binding on the government.
Collegium had recommended two names together in January
The collegium, a body of the SC's five top judges, had recommended Joseph and Indu Malhotra's names in January.
Though it approved Malhotra, the government returned Joseph's name citing seniority; he's 42nd in the all-India seniority list.
Moreover, a judge of the Kerala HC, where Joseph was formerly posted, is already in the SC while many other HCs don't have any representation, it said.
CJI Dipak Misra, reportedly left out of decision, under pressure
Retired Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph wrote to CJI Dipak Misra, urging him to speak up on the delay in appointment.
In May, after Chelameswar wrote to Misra again, the Collegium decided in principle to send back Joseph's name.
But it also decided to send some other names along with his.
Do you know?
Did the government have ulterior motives?
Since Joseph struck down the Center's order to impose President's Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016, the Centre has not only blocked his elevation to SC, but also his transfer to AP, as was recommended by the collegium. However, the government insists its decision is unrelated.
The last time this happened, then-CJI lashed out at Centre
A similar case happened in 2014, when the same government left out Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium but approved the appointment of three others recommended together.
Then-CJI RM Lodha had written a strongly-worded letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is still holding the post.
Lodha had warned against such "unilateral segregation" in the future.
Subramanium had withdrawn consent after his name was returned.
This government has been warring with judiciary since the start
Since 2014, the government has had an on-and-off war with the judiciary, which has accused it of trying to control judicial-appointments by passing the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, sitting on recommendations without explanation, and stalling transfers.
Recently, it took another rare step: against the collegium's recommendation of making Punjab and Haryana HC Additional Judge Ramendra Jain permanent, it gave him a six-month extension.