SC collegium fails to send judges' names

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The Supreme Court Collegium, which met on Wednesday to discuss the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the apex court, has deferred its decision, sources said.

Since there was no unanimity on certain other names discussed for elevation to the Supreme Court, a formal decision on sending the fresh suggestions along with that of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph had been "deferred". With the SC going for a summer break from May 18 till July 3, and Justice Chelameswar retiring on June 23, there is some uncertainty about when the collegium will meet again.

On October 15 in 2015, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down the NDA governments National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Act, that was envisaged to replace the controversial 24-year-old collegium system of judges appointing judges.

Which means that even the recommendation of Justice Joseph's name gets delayed in the process. This issue may come up at the next meeting. At the May 11 meeting of the collegium, comprising CJI Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, it was unanimously chose to reiterate the proposal to elevate Justice K M Joseph.

Besides reiterating the elevation of Justice Joseph, the collegium has earlier recommended the elevation to the top court of Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice and the Chief Justice of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court.

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The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court's parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails. It could be held on Friday or next week, sources said.

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.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court website crashed yesterday as well, so the Collegium decision could not be uploaded in the evening.

It is not first time that the government has sought to block a collegium decision on Justice Joseph.

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