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Decision on Justice Joseph's elevation to top court deferred again

Decision on Justice Joseph's elevation to top court deferred again

This was the Collegium's second meeting in five days.

The Supreme Court Collegium has yet again deferred its decision to reiterate recommendation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph's name to the Centre despite already deciding to do so in its previous meeting. During the May 11 meeting of the collegium, sources said Justices Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph had pitched strongly for reiteration of Justice K M Joseph's name and insisted on sending his name alone to the government for quick elevation to the SC.

When the collegium sends the file back, the government will have to accept the recommendation.

On Wednesday, there was a detailed discussion in the collegium but sources said no unanimity was reached on names that could be recommended for appointment as SC judges.

In doing so, it has expressed its concurrence with a unanimous recommendation made in this regard by the Rajasthan High Court Collegium, as well as the state government.

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Legal experts asked why the collegium, having "unanimously agreed" to reiterate his name, should wait till the others are picked.

This is the third time that the collegium has deferred its decision on Justice Joseph's elevation since the Centre rejected its recommendation last month noting that it would "not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable and deserving Chief justices and senior Puisne Judges of various High Courts". The apex court is now functioning with just 25 judges, six below its sanctioned strength. The Centre had sent back Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration. However, the Supreme Court Collegium has chose to defer consideration of their names for now. Justice Malhotra is already functioning as a Supreme Court judge.

There are now seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, with two more vacancies likely to arise in the next two months, due to the retirement of Justices J. Chelameswar on June 22, and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on July 6.

Justice Jhala's name has been approved after taking into consideration the material on record.