Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

A new crèche comes up in Supreme Court

A new crèche comes up in Supreme Court

THE Central Government's action in sending the file of Justice K M Joseph back to SC Collegium for reconsideration had "nothing to do with his order quashing the President's Rule in Uttarakhand", Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

The collegium, which is headed by the CJI, comprises justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurien Joseph.

Sources, however, told this newspaper that wide range of issues relating to appointment of judges from High Courts, which did not have representation, was discussed which remained inconclusive. The bench said the government is within its rights to send back a name for reconsideration.

Justice Joseph's name was sent along with that of senior advocate Indu Malhotra on January 10 for elevation to the Supreme Court.

A top court bench led by CJI took strong note of the submission made by senior advocate Indira Jaising that Malhotra should not be sworn in as the apex court judge and the Centre be directed to recommend the name of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as well.

"I wish to deny with all authority at my command that it has nothing to do with it (Justice Joseph's decision) at all, for two obvious reasons". Prasad noted that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was elected with a three-fourths majority past year.

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It was also learnt that the collegium did not discuss any specific names of other high court chief justices for elevation to the Supreme Court.

The present government had, at that time, hived-off Senior Counsel Gopal Subramanium's name, though his name had been recommended by the collegium as well.

Taking the example of Justice Khehar, who had set aside the National Judicial Commission initiative, Prasad said that he too became Chief Justice of India during BJP-led NDA government. They unanimously said that returning the recommendation of Justice Joseph was an attack on the independence of judiciary.

After more than three months, the Centre cleared the file of Indu Malhotra and notified her appointment to the Supreme Court on April 26.

After putting on hold justice Joseph's elevation, law minister wrote to the CJI that it would "not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable, and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various high courts".

It had also raised the principle of proportionality contending that Kerala High Court was a "comparatively small High Court" with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges and was a parent High Court for the top court judge Justice Kurian Joseph, the Chief Justices of three High Courts - Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).

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