Justice Chelamewar’s letter also talked about judicial independence and how it was incumbent upon the judiciary to insulate itself from the executive.
New Delhi: Justice J. Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, has once again written a letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, impressing on him the need to convene a meeting of the collegium to discuss the issue relating to the elevation of the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand high court, KM Joseph, whose file has been returned by the Union law ministry.
The Centre on April 26 asked the collegium to reconsider the recommendation of Justice Joseph for elevation as a Supreme Court judge on the ground that the proposal was not in accordance with the parameters laid down. It was also pointed out that Justice Joseph was 42nd in seniority among the judges of the high courts and 11th among the Chief Justices. The Centre also drew the collegium’s attention to the fact that Kerala has been adequately represented in the judiciary, both in the apex court as well as in other high courts. In his letter, Justice Chelameswar pointed out there was no change in the circumstances that had led the collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10 along with senior advocate Indu Malhotra and there was no reason for the Centre to not accept the proposal in respect to Justice Joseph.
Sources told this newspaper that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has given a detailed response to the issues raised by law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in his letters to the CJI dated April 26 and 30. They said the CJI must convene the collegium to discuss this issue at the earliest and give its response to reiterate the recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph to the apex court.
In March, Justice Chelameswar wrote a similar letter to the CJI taking exception to the Karnataka high court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari ordering a probe against P Krishna Bhat, a senior district and sessions judge whose elevation to the high court has been cleared twice by the Supreme Court collegium.
He objected to the Centre’s interference in the elevation of Justice Bhat and regarding writing directly to the high court Chief Justice by-passing the collegium. Justice Chelamewar’s letter also talked about judicial independence and how it was incumbent upon the judiciary to insulate itself from the executive.