The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association has appealed to the Centre to forward to the President the Collegium’s recommendation for the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the Supreme Court.
In a recent resolution, the Association expresses its “deep concern and anxiety” over the delay in Justice Joseph’s elevation. Vouching for his competence, the resolution states, “Justice K.M. Joseph is known for his integrity, honesty, knowledge in law and independent discharge of his judicial functions. He had all along discharged his duties as a Judge, in letter and spirit of the oath he had taken. Such qualities cannot become a taboo for the appointment of anyone, as a Judge.”
It then asserts that the delay in approving his elevation is sending “wrong signals” to the institution, explaining, “No judge shall be allowed to suffer consequences, for being honest and fearless, in the discharge of his duties as a judge. The delay in forwarding the name of Justice K.M. Joseph is sending wrong signals to the institution, for judges being independent and fearless in the discharge of their constitutional functions.”
Justice Joseph’s appointment has been in the pipeline for quite some time now. As Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Joseph had pronounced a judgment quashing the President’s rule imposed in the State of Uttarakhand. The Collegium had then, in May 2016, recommended his transfer from Uttarakhand High Court to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. However, this hasn’t materialized yet. Thereafter, last year in February, Justice Chelameswar had also questioned Justice K.M. Joseph’s exclusion from the recommendations for elevation to the Apex Court.
The Collegium had then, last month, recommended his elevation to the Supreme Court. There were soon news reports which had claimed that the Law Ministry had sent back the recommendation, without forwarding it to the President. This was, however, refuted by a few media houses who quoted Law Ministry sources to claim that the news was incorrect.