New Delhi, July 21 : The Supreme Court collegium has reiterated its recommendation to elevate Justice K.M. Joseph, the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the Supreme Court.
The top court collegium reiterated its January 10 recommendation at its meeting on July 16, according to the decision that was uploaded on the top court’s website on Friday.
Reiterating its recommendation, the collegium noted that there was nothing adverse regarding suitability of Justice Joseph in the two communications sent by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad while returning the recommendation for reconsideration.
Recommending Justice Joseph’s elevation to top court, the collegium had on January 10 said: “The collegium considers that at present Justice K.M. Joseph is 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.”
However, the Centre had invoked the principle of seniority saying that Justice Joseph stood at number 42 of the seniority of the High Court judges and there were 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts senior to him – a clear suggestion that any elevation of Justice Joseph to top court would be at their expense.
Besides this, the Centre had said that Kerala High Court being comparatively a small court with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges was a parent high court for Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph, Chief Justices of three High Courts — Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).
However, the top court collegium by its July 16 decision said: “We have carefully considered the observations made by the Law Minister in his letters dated April 26 and April 30 addressed to the Chief Justice of India referring back, for reconsideration, the recommendation made by us on January 10 for appointment of Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, as Judge of the Supreme Court.
“The Collegium, on due consideration of all the aspects mentioned in the aforesaid two letters, resolves to reiterate the afore-mentioned recommendation, especially since nothing adverse regarding suitability of Mr. Justice K.M. Koseph has been pointed out in the aforesaid letters.”