Centre vs judiciary: Collegium's recommendation should not have been rejected, says SC Judge

Justice Kurian Joseph on Sunday said that the recommendations of the apex court Collegium should not have been rejected.

Centre vs judiciary: Collegium's recommendation should not have been rejected, says SC Judge

Kochi: Days after the Centre rejected the recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium on the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as an apex court judge, a top court judge on Sunday said that 'this should not have happened'.

"Since this happened, there were lots of discussions... Such a thing should never happen again," Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the apex court collegium, said.

Kurian Joseph, who is one of the top Supreme Court judges, is also a member of the apex court Collegium, which recommended the elevation of Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.

The remarks from Justice Kurien Jospeh came days after the Supreme Court Collegium deferred its decision on the issue of Justice KM Joseph's elevation.

A decision in this regard was taken following a meeting of all the five member-judges of the SC Collegium, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph on Wednesday.

The Collegium's move to defer its decision on Justice KM Joseph came nearly a week after the Centre rejected its recommendation to elevate the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice as an apex court judge and asked it to reconsider its choice.

The apex court collegium also passed a resolution that it met "to consider the following agenda:'To reconsider the case of Mr Justice KM Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [PHC:Kerala], pursuant to letters dated 26th & 30th April, 2018 received from Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India and also to consider the names of Judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, in view of the concept of fair representation.'Deferred."

The Collegium' had first recommended the name of Justice KM Joseph for elevation to Supreme Court along with the name of Justice Indu Malhotra on January 10 this year.

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

However, it refused to clear Justice Joseph’s file sending it back to the Collegium with a 6-page explanatory note on why it did not want him to be elevated to Supreme Court.

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.

Some lawyers had even mentioned the matter before CJI Dipak Misra and demanded that there should be a stay on the warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra till the file of Justice Joseph is cleared.

However, CJI Dipak Misra later dismissed the petitions, saying that the Centre was well within its right to reject the Collegium's recommendation for Justice Joseph's elevation to the apex court.

Refused to stay the presidential warrant appointing senior woman lawyer Indu Malhotra as a Supreme Court judge, the CJI termed the plea of advocates challenging it as "unimaginable," "unthinkable," "unconscionable" and "never heard before."

The CJI said that it was inappropriate to put on hold the appointment of Indu Malhotra as a judge in the Supreme Court just because the central government has not cleared Justice KM Joseph's name.

(With PTI inputs)