Uttarakhand CJ Justice Joseph doesn’t make it to the Supreme Court

While the previous collegium headed by former CJI TS Thakur had shortlisted his name, the collegium headed by CJI Khehar has not cleared elevation for Uttarakhand CJ Justice KM Joseph

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@SHShumanists
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@SHShumanists

NH Political Bureau

After the Supreme Court collegium reportedly gave in to the NDA Government’s wish list on the appointment and transfer of judges, five new Supreme Court judges were today sworn in as apex court judges, taking the court’s strength to 28, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The sanctioned strength of judges in the apex court is 31.

The new judges administered the oath of office by CJI JS Khehar on Friday morning are Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Navin Sinha, Mohan M Shantanagoudar, Deepak Gupta and S Abdul Nazeer.

Justice Kaul was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court while Justice Sinha was the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court. Justices Shantanagoudar and Gupta were the chief justices of Kerala and Chhattisgarh high courts respectively and Justice Nazeer was a judge in the Karnataka High Court.

While the government cleared at one go the elevation of five judges to the Supreme Court, the collegium, on its part, resolved to put on hold the transfer of two high court judges and the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the apex court.

Sources claimed this hints at a compromise aimed at ending the stalemate over appointments to the higher judiciary that had persisted since May last year.

The Centre was reportedly opposed to the transfer of Justice Valmiki Mehta of Delhi High Court to Gujarat and Justice MR Shah of Gujarat High Court to Rajasthan. It had also reportedly opposed the elevation of Justice Joseph to the Supreme Court. Justice Joseph incidentally had quashed President's rule in Uttarakhand last year.

In April last year, the collegium had transferred Justice Joseph to the Andhra Pradesh High Court on medical grounds. But the Centre refused to clear the transfer.

Around October last year, Justice Joseph's name was shortlisted for elevation to the Supreme Court by the previous collegium headed by the then CJI, TS Thakur.

The Narendra Modi government has also been insisting that it should have the power to veto the name of a judge recommended for a high court or the Supreme Court on the ground of "national security".

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Published: 17 Feb 2017, 1:05 PM