The Supreme Court collegium will use “facts and precedents” to counter the government’s arguments against Justice KM Joseph’s elevation as a judge in the top court, Justice Kurian Joseph told The Indian Express. He added that the Centre had not “put facts in perspective” when it rejected KM Joseph for the judgeship.
In an interview published on Monday, Justice Kurian Joseph said: “The collegium might have to reiterate its recommendation furnishing facts and figures, and citing precedent, which have not been put in perspective by the government when it returned his name. The actual facts will be put up before the government.”
KM Joseph is the chief justice of the Uttarakhand High Court. The collegium of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had in January recommended him and lawyer Indu Malhotra for elevation. More than three months later, the law ministry on April 26 notified Malhotra’s appointment, but refused to clear KM Joseph’s.
The ministry justified the decision by saying there were 11 High Court chief justices who were senior to KM Joseph, and none of those courts had representations in the Supreme Court at present. It also said judges from marginalised communities had not been appointed to the top court “for long”.
The collegium will meet on Wednesday to discuss the government’s response to its recommendation.
The Centre’s decision had sparked a controversy because KM Joseph had, in 2016, headed a three-judge bench that quashed the government’s decision to impose President’s Rule in Uttarakhand. Since then, his request for a transfer to Andhra Pradesh and elevation to the top court have been blocked by the government.
“Justice [KM] Joseph had, two years ago, asked for a transfer to the plains on health grounds,” Kurian Joseph said. “He had health issues and had asked for a transfer to save himself from the biting cold in the hills and the Supreme Court had sent the file, transferring him to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. But the government has kept silent on it till date.”