Not Taking Revenge of Justice Joseph's 2016 Uttarakhand Order: Prasad

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In a surprising decision, the Supreme Court collegium, consisting of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, deferred the decision to reiterate the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.

However, if the government's recent history is an indicator, it is likely to be sat on for a while - at least until CJI Misra convenes the full court discussion that Justices Kurian Joseph and Ranjan Gogoi had requested.

It also considered the names of judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday reiterated that the government isn't turning down the Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph elevation to the Supreme Court because of his 2016 Uttarakhand order. Firstly, a proper (BJP-led) government with almost three-fourth majority has been elected in Uttarakhand.

The government had on 26 April declined to accept the recommendation of the collegium and asked it to reconsider his name.

The names of Justice Indira Banerjee who hails from Calcutta High Court and is now the chief justice of Madras High Court, and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, now the Karnataka High Court chief justice, are doing the rounds.

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Justice Joseph's name was recommended along with the senior advocate Indu Malhotra on January 10 for their elevation as Supreme Court judges.

This is because clubbing these two in a single resolution could given the Centre the option of perpetually sitting on Joseph's appointment while asking the President to issue warrants to others who are recommended by the collegium.

He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala High Court on October 14, 2004, and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand High Court on July 31, 2014.

Malhotra was sworn in as the judge of the apex court on April 27.

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". And justice Joseph's order was confirmed by justice J S Khehar of the Supreme Court, who had also set aside the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act; yet Khehar became CJI under the NDA government, Prasad said.

Though it had cleared the recommendation of Malhotra for appointment as top court judge, the Central government flagged the absence of SC/ST judges in the top judiciary while returning the recommendation of Justice Joseph for reconsideration.

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