KOCHI: In a rare if not a first-of-its-kind move, the Kerala High Court Advocates Association on Monday expressed concern over the delay in the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the Supreme Court.
It was on January 10 this year that the SC Collegium recommended the names of Justice Joseph as also senior advocate Indu Malhotra for appointment to the highest court in the country. The recommendation was forwarded to the Union government some days later by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, but the Centre has reportedly not cleared them for Presidential assent.
The preface to the resolution that was adopted at the Kerala HC advocates association meeting on Monday pointed out that “Justice Joseph is known for his integrity, honesty, knowledge in law and independent discharge of judicial functions... Such qualities cannot become a taboo for the appointment of anyone as a judge.”
Stating that more than a month has lapsed since the recommendation was made, the association felt the delay “is sending wrong signals” to the institution and the judges for being independent and fearless. “No judge shall be allowed to suffer consequences for being honest and fearless in the discharge of his duties.”
The one paragraph resolution adopted at the meeting appealed to the Union government to forward the name of Justice Joseph as recommended by the Collegium to the President of India at the earliest.
Speaking to Express, senior advocate Sukumaran, who is the first signatory in the resolution, said: “The government can seek clarification from the Supreme Court if they do not agree with the proposal. They are not doing anything, hence the resolution.”
Incidentally, on the day the Collegium made the two recommendations, it also cleared the names of 10 chief justices for as many high courts in India. The Centre accepted some and a few have already taken charge, including Manipur Chief Justice Abhilasha Kumari, Meghalaya Chief Justice Tarun Agarwala and Karnataka Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.
Uttarakhand CJ had set aside President’s rule
Justice Joseph was a judge of the Kerala High Court before his elevation as the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court and is the one who incidentally set aside the imposition of President’s rule in that state in 2016. In the absence of any communication from the Union government so far, the SC Collegium is clueless about the fate of its recommendations, despite CJI Misra making public the rationale behind suggesting the two names.