Fresh criticism for CJI Dipak Misra as Supreme Court Collegium defers decision on Justice KM Joseph

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The Supreme Court Collegium headed by CJI Dipak Misra deferred its decision on the elevation of Justice KM Joseph, currently working as the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court.

CJI Dipak Misra

Reporting the minutes of the Wednesday’s Collegium meeting, Legal website Live Law reported, “The Collegium met to consider the following Agenda: “To reconsider the case of Mr. Justice K.M. 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.”

Last month as many as 100 top Supreme Court lawyers had called for an extraordinary meeting to protest against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to return the file on Justice KM Joseph’s recommendations to the Collegium.

In the petition sent to the Supreme Court Bar Association, as many as 100 top SC lawyers expressed their ‘displeasure and opposition to the Executive action of splitting up/segregating the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium.’

The statement, jointly signed by 100 top Supreme Court lawyers, called upon President Ram Nath Kovind to ‘forthwith issue warrants of appointment of both learned judges.’

This was after the Centre approved the name of lawyer Indu Malhotra for the role of the Supreme Court judge, but returned the recommendation for Justice KM Joseph, who’s currently the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court. The Centre’s refusal to give  its consent to the collegium’s recommendation was widely believed to be in reaction to Justice Joseph’s 2016 decision to quash the Modi government’s President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, which was then being headed by Harish Rawat of the Congress.

The decision to defer a decision on Justice KM Joseph has already evoked criticism for CJI Misra, who many felt had the opportunity to redeem himself.

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