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Not avenging Justice Joseph’s Uttarakhand order: Law Minister

New Delhi, May 2: The Central government’s action in sending the file of Justice K.M. Joseph back to the Supreme Court Collegium for reconsideration had “nothing to do with his order quashing the President’s Rule in Uttarakhand”, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. “I wish to deny with all authority at my command that it has nothing to do with it (Justice Joseph’s decision) at all, for two obvious reasons. Firstly, a proper (BJP-led) government with nearly three-fourth majority has been elected in Uttarakhand. Secondly, that order was confirmed by Justice (J.S.) Khehar of the Supreme Court,” Prasad said in response to a media query.
      “Justice Khehar was the judge who also set aside the National Judicial Commission initiative of the government. Yet he became the Chief Justice of India during the BJP-led NDA government. I think that by itself is (proof) enough,” Prasad said. The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the name of Justice Joseph, currently the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, for elevation as a Supreme Court Judge along with eminent lawyer Indu Malhotra. While the government cleared Malhotra’s name, it sent Justice Joseph’s file back to the Collegium for reconsideration, drawing widespread flak from the legal community as well as the opposition.
A bench headed by Justice Joseph had quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand by the Central government that dismissed the Congress party’s Chief Minister Harish Rawat-led government just ahead of the state Assembly elections in 2016. (IANS)