New Delhi: The collegium of five most-senior judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to defer its earlier recommendation to elevate Uttrakhand High Court’s Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph to the top court, a week after the Centre rejected his name.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph are the members of the collegium.
The collegium's announced the deferrment decision after a 45-50 minute meeting.
The collegium had also considered names of judges from three other high courts in view of what the court called, was the "concept of fair representation".
But a decision on the appointments had been deferred, a resolution by the Supreme Court said after the meeting of the collegium.
One of the grounds cited by the government to reject Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph's elevation was that this would increase the number of judges from the Kerala High Court to two though there were many high courts which did not have any representation in the top court's bench.
The collegium's decision to "consider the names of judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Courts" for elevation to the Supreme Court is seen as an effort to address the government's concern and fill more vacancies in the apex court.
Hours before the Supreme Court's five most-senior judges sat down to discuss Justice KM Joseph's elevation, the government insisted that its decision to stop the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice's appointment did not have anything to do with his 2016 verdict cancelling President's rule in Uttarakhand.
The collegium had in January this year recommended KM Joseph and lawyer Indu Malhotra for elevation as Supreme Court judges. After sitting on the proposal for more than three months, the law ministry notified Malhotra’s appointment on April 26, but refused to clear KM Joseph’s name, and asked the apex court to reconsider.
The ministry had justified the decision by saying there were 11 High Court chief justices who were senior to KM Joseph, and none of those courts had representations in the Supreme Court at present. It also said judges from marginalised communities had not been appointed to the Supreme Court "for long"....