Death of independence of judiciary, says Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising on Justice KM Joseph’s transfer


The sudden transfer of Justice KM Joseph, who recently delivered a strongly-worded judgement against the central government quashing the President’s Rule in Uttarakhand has left many shocked.

Justice Joseph, the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court was on Wednesday transferred to Andhra Pradesh High Court as chief justice.

While many questioned the timing describing it as an incredible coincidence on social media, senior advocates and politicians chose to express their outrage publicly.

Renowned Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising tweeted, “Death of independence of judiciary. Justice Mathew (sic) who authored the Uttaranchal judgement transferred to AP, what is the explanation for this? Was our faith in the judiciary misplaced? Why are judges who write judgements against the government at the Centre being transferred? First Justice Shakdar (Shakdher) who authored the Priya Pillai judgement was transferred, then Justice Mathew who wrote the Uttaranchal judgement.”

Jaising found support from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who shared her tweets with his own additional comments.

Kejriwal said, “This is shocking. This raises serious questions ab(ou)t independence of judiciary.”

According to media reports, the decision to move Justice KM Joseph was taken by the Supreme Court collegium, headed by CJI Justice TS Thakur, which also recommended elevation of three high court judges to the apex court.

According to Indian Express, this was the first such recommendation in over a year. The last recommendation was made before the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act — which was struck down by a Supreme Court bench on 16 October last year — came into force.

The Union Law Ministry is still in the process of collecting feedback from the State governments and High Court Chief Justices for the preparation of a new Memorandum of Procedure for transfer and appointment of judges.