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Justice KM Joseph left out for elevation as SC judge due to govt pressure, allege activists

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CJAR, a body consisting of activists from various fields, has criticised the Supreme Court collegium for leaving out Chief Justice of the Uttrakhand High Court K M Joseph for elevation as a judge of the apex court, saying his omission was due to “pressure” from the government.

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has in a statement supported the reported stand of Justice J Chelameswar, one of the members of the collegium, that Justice Joseph has been sidelined.

“As a member of the Supreme Court collegium, while Justice Chelameswar has not disagreed with the names of the five other judges that have been proposed for elevation to the Supreme Court, his criticism that Justice Joseph has been sidelined, is right and justified,” the statement said.

It said his being sidelined is “surprising” since his name for elevation to the Supreme Court was even recommended by the collegium headed by previous chief justice T S Thakur.

“It is apparent that this decision of Justice K M Joseph’s non-elevation has been influenced by pressure from the government, especially in light of Justice Joseph’s bold decision striking down the imposition of President’s rule by the Centre in the state of Uttrakhand last year,” the statement claimed and demanded that the full text of Justice Chelameswar’s dissenting note to the collegium should be put in public domain.

Besides Chief Justice J S Khehar, who chairs the collegium, its other members are Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and M B Lokur.

The collegium has reportedly cleared the names of five sitting high court judges, including four chief justices, for elevation to the apex court.

According to sources, those recommended by the collegium are Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Rajasthan HC Chief Justice Naveen Sinha, Kerala HC Chief Justice Mohan M Shantanagouder, Chhattisgarh HC Chief Justice Dipak Gupta and Karnataka HC judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

However, no woman judge could make it to the list.

At present, there is only one woman judge, Justice R Banumathi, in the apex court which is working with 23 judges out of the sanctioned strength of 31.

Justice Banumathi, who assumed office as a Supreme Court judge on August 13, 2014, is the sixth woman judge in the apex court since Independence.

Source: Dna India