A Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur has recommended the transfer of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph, who had set aside President's Rule in the Congress-ruled state, reported The Indian Express. The panel has suggested that Joseph be transferred to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Harish Rawat government in the state has been in the middle of severe factionalism.
The central government in March had imposed President’s Rule in the state because of a “breakdown of governance”. It came less than a fortnight after a political crisis triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress party.
Legal circles reacted sharply as news of Joseph's transfer surfaced. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising expressed concern and displeasure regarding the development through a series of tweets.
The collegium, which met on Monday, also recommended that three High Court chief justices and a senior lawyer be appointment judges at the Supreme Court. This is the first time in a year that the apex court has suggested candidates for SC judges. The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, which was a proposed body for the appointment and transfer of judges, came into force in April 2015. However, it was struck down by the Supreme Court in October 2015.
The four new names suggested by the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur are Chief Justice AM Khanwilkar of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud of the Allahabad High Court, Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan of the Kerala High Court and former Additional Solicitor General and senior advocate L Nageswara Rao.
Rao was Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's counsel in a disproportionate assets case. He has served as Additional Solicitor General in the Supreme Court for the UPA-II government and the present NDA government before he resigned from the post, reported The Hindu. He is also representing the Tamil Nadu government in its objection to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for 2016-17.