Three senior-most judges of the Supreme Court — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur – on Wednesday met Chief Justice Dipak Misra to discuss the reiteration of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph’s name for elevation to the apex court.
This was the first informal meeting after the formal collegium meeting on May 2, where the judges could not reach consensus on whether to re-recommend Justice Joseph’s name for the elevation.
Another senior judge and member of the Supreme Court collegium, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, who was on leave and didn’t attend the meeting, wrote to the CJI.
In the letter, Justice Chelameswar has extended his support to the reiteration of Justice Joseph’s name for the elevation to the apex court.
On April 26, the Narendra Modi government had asked the Supreme Court collegium to be “objective and fair” and reconsider its recommendation for elevating Justice KM Joseph to the apex court.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote a letter to Chief Justice Dipak Misra and said that Justice Joseph’s elevation was not “appropriate” as there were 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts, who were senior to him, according to the sources.
Centre’s move to block Justice Joseph’s elevation was being linked to his 2016 judgment in which he struck down Modi government’s order to impose presidential rule in Uttarakhand and allowed Harish Rawat to return to power.
However, with four of the five collegium members in favour Joseph’s name to be reiterated for elevation, CJI Misra would be under pressure to re-recommend Joseph’s name for the promotion to an apex court judge.
If the collegium decided to reiterate Joseph’s name for the elevation, it would become incumbent for the Modi government to issue a Presidential warrant and approve his appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.