Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad has rejected the narrative that the government had turned down the elevation of Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court due to his judgment on president's rule in Uttarakhand.
In the meeting which concluded a few minutes back, the Collegium which also comprises Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph made a decision to defer the same. Last week, the government cleared the appointment of senior advocate to the Supreme Court as a judge of the top court, but put on hold the collegium's recommendation to elevate Joseph.
The short resolution published on the Supreme Court website did not assign any reason for why the decision was deferred.
Contrary to speculations, sources confirmed to TNIE that though the agenda was to examine the government's response to Justice Joseph's elevation, during the brief meeting they agreed to discuss it at length early next week when the collegium will meet again.
CJI Misra was of the view that judges from the high courts of Rajasthan, Calcutta and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana should be considered along with the proposal to elevate Justice Joseph, the person said on condition of anonymity. The Centre segregated both names, declined the recommendation of Justice Joseph and sought reconsideration by the Collegium while clearing the decks for appointment of Malhotra, who was since sworn in as the Judge of the apex court on April 27.
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).
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".
His seniority was also questioned by the Centre which said "he stands at Sl".
The government decision to send back Justice Joseph's recommendation for reconsideration was met with sharp criticism by the former Chief Justices of the top court and others.
The Centre's rejection of Justice KM Joseph's name triggered a huge outcry with several legal luminaries alleging that this was a payback by the Centre for the judgement by Justice Joseph, striking down Presidential Rule in the State of Uttarakhand High Court.
This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.