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Second Letter by Govt Prompted Collegium to Defer Decision on Justice Joseph's Elevation to SC

After sending a letter to the CJI on April 26, the Law Minister wrote a second letter on April 30 on the issue of elevating Uttarakhand High Court chief justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:May 2, 2018, 10:53 PM IST
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Second Letter by Govt Prompted Collegium to Defer Decision on Justice Joseph's Elevation to SC
A file photo of Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court K M Joseph. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: A second letter sent by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra turned out to be the chief reason why the Collegium decided to postpone its decision on reiterating the name of Justice KM Joseph.

After sending a letter to the CJI on April 26, the Law Minister wrote a second letter on April 30 on the issue of elevating Uttarakhand High Court chief justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.

The second letter, according to sources in the top court, was "much mild in its tenor" than the first one, which some judges had acknowledged as "confrontational" in its language.

In the second letter, the government tried to convey to the judiciary that it completely respected the latter's independence but had sent back Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration over certain valid issues.

The government buttressed its arguments on "fair representation" and "comparative seniority" while requesting the Collegium to review its decision to send Justice Joseph name while bypassing several other judges in high courts. It also talked about representation of SC/ST community in the apex court, as had been in vogue for years now.

When the five most senior judges met for the Collegium meeting on Wednesday evening, both the letters were put forth for discussion by the CJI.

The agenda, as circulated a day ago among the judges, stated that apart from the issue of reiterating Justice Joseph's name, there will also be discussion on elevating senior judges having Rajasthan, Calcutta and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as their parent high courts.

Justice Joseph's name was picked up as the first item on discussion. However, CJI Dipak Misra proposed other names should also be finalised and be sent together with the reiterated name.

The other judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - then agreed that wider deliberation was required and hence the meeting was deferred.

The judges, according to the sources, said they will come back with more inputs on the agenda items. The Collegium is now likely to meet next week.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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