Govt tells SC collegium why it rejected Joseph

Lester Mason
April 28, 2018

"This is interference in the judiciary, apart from, of course, rejecting names that the government doesn't find favourable".

Justice Mir's brother Justice Mansoor A Mir earlier led the Himachal High Court as Chief Justice till April 24, 2017, when he superannuated. Judges of the Supreme Court who were conversant with the High Court were also invited to give their views before the Collegium took its decision. Hence, sending back Justice Joseph's candidature on the ground that Kerala HC is already represented by Justice Kurian Joseph doesn't hold water. Speculation has abounded that the government is yet to make peace with Justice Joseph's verdict quashing President's Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016.

Here are some of the facts about the newly sworn-in Supreme Court judge. "The authority is entrusted to the chief justice because such an entrustment of functions is necessary for the efficient transaction of the administrative and judicial work of the court". With this, Malhotra has become the first woman to be elevated directly from the Bar to the Supreme Court to be the and only the seventh woman judge Supreme Court has ever had. In a letter to the Supreme Court, the centre attributed its reluctance to accept their recommendation to Justice Joseph's seniority ranking among all high court judges.

Former Chief Justice Thakur said he could not say what steps the collegium would take.

Justice DY Chandrachud, according to reporters present in the court, said however that while it was against constitutional propriety to stop Indu Malhotra's appointment, the question whether there is "cherry-picking" of names and whether it hampers judicial independence needs to be considered in-depth.

The government's opposition to Justice Joseph's elevation is likely to deepen the rift between the executive and the judiciary. However, given that Justice Gupta is due to retire on June 6, the Collegium observed that the recommendation of his name would not serve any objective. These judges include chief justices and acting chief justices of various high courts. "If there is one person, that person has to be the Chief Justice of India".

The Centre in its reasons has said that there are other judges in the seniority list and that there is little representation from other judges of other high courts in this list.

The Centre has notified the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge in the apex court on the basis of the collegium's recommendation, while raising objections to Justice Joseph's name.

61-year-old Malhotra's name name was approved by the collegium on January 10, along with that of Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice K M Joseph. "He can consult other judges who are not part of the collegium to know details of various benches and cases if he deems so". In an apparent warning, they said lack of impartiality in allocation of high profile cases could imperil India's democracy.

The Congress party however smelled politics behind the government's decision accusing Prime Minister Modi of indulging in "politics of revenge".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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