No decision on Justice KM Joseph as yet

SC Collegium Again Defers Decision to Re-Recommend Justice KM Joseph

This is the collegium's second meeting to firm up its response to the centre's decision that has set up a face-off between the judiciary and the executive and has been described as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission announced Wednesday that the nominees are: Maria Berkenkotter, the former chief judge of the 20th Judicial District in Boulder County; Karen Brody, a judge in the 2nd Judicial District in Denver County; and Carlos Samour, a judge in the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County.

Justice Joseph's name came up for recommendation once again after the Centre had raised concerns about it. However, the Supreme Court Collegium has chose to defer consideration of their names for now.

The collegium meeting was scheduled to discuss in detail the High Court probables for the Supreme Court. The proposal pertaining to other Additional Judges whose current term would be expiring much later will be taken up for consideration at appropriate stage.

Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad had rejected this allegation and had explained that the Centre was opposing Justice Joseph's elevation because Kerala HC, to which he originally belongs, is already well represented in the apex court and that there were other judges who deserved promotion first due to their seniority.

The previous meet had also set in motion discussions on the names of judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation, in view of the "concept of fair representation".

This was despite the fact that while recommending him in January, the resolution signed by five collegium members had stated that they found Justice K.M. Joseph to be "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 of India". But it has made a decision to do so only while recommending - presumably on May 16 - the elevation of other chief justices of high courts, who may be in the zone of consideration, for appointment as Supreme court judges.

The Supreme Court collegium has again deferred a formal decision on sending the file relating to the elevation of Justice K.M. Joseph as a judge of the apex court, though it has stuck to its decision of "in principle, unanimously" reiterating the recommendation for his promotion.



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