New Delhi: The elevation of Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court has stirred a controversy once again, with several apex court judges expressing their displeasure with the government for tinkering with his seniority in the appointment notification.
The Supreme Court collegium had first recommended Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice Joseph’s name for elevation in January.
However, after the government struck it down on the grounds that he lacked seniority and his elevation would lead to “over-representation” from Kerala, it was sent in July again along with the names of Madras HC Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Orissa HC Chief Justice Vineet Saran.
Though the government cleared the appointments on Saturday, it placed Justice Joseph’s name third in the notification, making him junior to the other two judges. This is expected to hamper his chances of being elevated to the post of CJI as well as head a Supreme Court bench.
The miffed judges are expected to lodge their protest with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday.
The Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice’s elevation to the apex court had ended a protracted stand-off between the government and the judiciary.
Justice Joseph had struck down the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016 after the dismissal of a Congress government led by Harish Rawat.
An earlier recommendation of the collegium to transfer Justice Joseph to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana high court on health grounds was kept pending by the government for a long time
The collegium on May 16 in-principle reiterated the decision to recommend Justice Joseph’s name. But the recommendation was sent to the government in July.
The number of judges in the top court after the fresh appointments has gone up to 25. The CJI is expected to administer oath to the three judges on August 7.
(With PTI inputs)