New Delhi, May 17: The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday once again deferred its decision to reiterate its recommendation for the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the top court, as it could not decide on names of other judges for elevation to the apex court. Sources said the collegium met to deliberate on several issues, including reconsidering the name of Justice Joseph for elevation to the apex court after it was returned by the Central government. But, as no decision could be taken on elevation of other judges to the apex court, the two-hour collegium meeting also deferred the decision for reiteration of elevation of Justice Joseph to the Supreme Court, said court sources.
Besides reiterating the elevation of Justice Joseph, the collegium has earlier recommended the elevation to the top court of Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice and the Chief Justice of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court. The collegium during its last meeting on May 11 had taken an in-principle decision to reiterate its recommendation for the elevation of Justice Joseph to the top court. The top court collegium reiterated its January 10 recommendation for the elevation of Justice Joseph to the apex court after the Centre had on April 26 returned it for reconsideration.
But, the government, while sending back Justice Joseph’s recommendation for reconsideration, had invoked the principle of seniority, saying that Justice Joseph stood at number 42 of the seniority of the high court judges and there were 11 Chief Justices of various high courts senior to him — a clear suggestion that any elevation of Justice Joseph to top court would be at their expense. However, the general perception is that Justice Joseph had earned the displeasure of the Central government after a bench headed by him had ruled against the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.
It is not first time that the government has sought to block collegium decision on Justice Joseph. Earlier, the government did not materialise the collegium decision to transfer Justice Joseph as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court. The collegium’s decision taken in 2016 remains unimplemented to date. (IANS)