Justice Jasti Chelameswar on Wednesday said in a letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that the Supreme Court collegium must reiterate its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the top court, The Economic Times reported. Chelameswar added that the reiteration must be done at the earliest.
In his letter, the Supreme Court judge reportedly rebutted the points Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad had raised while urging the collegium judges to reconsider their decision to promote Joseph, NDTV quoted unidentified officials as saying.
Four of the top court’s five-most senior judges reportedly met on Wednesday afternoon to finalise the Memorandum of Procedure. They also discussed whether they should send back Joseph’s name to the government, according to The Indian Express. Chelameswar was not present at the meeting as he was on leave. The daily reported that there is near unanimity among the judges about reiterating Joseph’s name, and that Misra is under pressure to convene a formal collegium meeting where the decision can be announced.
Earlier this week, Justice Kurian Joseph expressed his disappointment over the delay in the matter. “Never has it happened before like this that the names sent by the collegium are asked to be reconsidered,” the judge said.
The collegium recommended KM Joseph and lawyer Indu Malhotra for elevation as Supreme Court judges in January. After sitting on the proposal for over three months, the law ministry notified Malhotra’s appointment on April 26. The government refused to clear Joseph’s name and asked the top court to reconsider its suggestion. KM Joseph was part of a two-judge bench that had struck down the Centre’s decision to impose President’s rule in Uttarakhand in March 2016. On May 2, the collegium deferred its decision to reiterate KM Joseph’s name.