Senior Supreme Court judge Justice Chelameswar, who raised voice for KM Joseph's apex court elevation, retires today
At the last collegium meeting, on May 16, a final decision could not be reached on the other judges whose names need to be sent along with that of Justice Joseph for elevation.
NEW DELHI: Justice J Chelameswar, who first raised his voice for the elevation of KM Joseph, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, as a judge in the Supreme Court, will not see it happen before he retires on Friday.
At the last collegium meeting, on May 16, a final decision could not be reached on the other judges whose names need to be sent along with that of Justice Joseph for elevation. The matter will now be taken up by a new collegium that will include Justice AK Sikri, the sixth most senior judge in the apex court.
Justice Sikri has so far stayed away from any kind of controversy and is known to enjoy the trust of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
It will, however, be extremely difficult and also extraordinary for the new collegium to decide against sending back Justice KM Joseph’s name, since there is already a resolution by the present collegium unanimously deciding in favour of reiteration of his name.
Justice Chelameswar was a part of the January 12 press conference where the four most senior judges—including Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur— criticised the conduct of CJI Dipak Misra and the way the Supreme Court was being administered.
In February 2017, Justice Chelameswar had written a strongly worded dissent note on Justice Joseph not being elevated.
Justice Chelameswar again threw his weight behind Justice Joseph at a collegium meeting in January 2018, and it was unanimously decided that his name should be sent to the government for elevation as a judge in the top court. He wrote to the CJI in February this year regretting how appointments were being stalled by the government.
Later that month, the Centre declined to process Justice Joseph’s name for appointment in the Supreme Court and raised issues of his seniority and regional representation in the Supreme Court.
In May, Justice Chelameswar wrote to the CJI once again, requesting him to convene a meeting of the collegium to urgently reiterate to the Centre the name of Justice Joseph for elevation as a judge of the apex court.
Chelameswar became Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court in May 2007, but was not elsevated to the Supreme Court until October 2011, thus robbing him of the chance to become Chief Justice of India, as it placed him behind CJI Dipak Misra in seniority in the apex court.