The government feels that the SC collegium has disregarded seniority and regional representation.
New Delhi: Following its decision to put on hold the elevation of Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge, the government on Thursday asked the apex court's collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate Joseph, government sources said.
The Centre's move to hold the elevation of Justice KM Joseph and clear the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the Supreme Court, has invited resentment from the opposition Congress and the legal fraternity.
The Centre has put on hold the elevation of Justice KM Joseph, who heads the Uttarakhand High Court.
The government feels that while recommending the name of Justice Joseph, the collegium has disregarded seniority and regional representation.
Joseph is 42nd in the seniority list of 669 high court judges.
On January 22, the apex court collegium's file recommending the elevation of Justice Joseph and Malhotra reached the Law Ministry.
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Sources said that Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad would now write to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about its decision to appoint only Malhotra.
Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram lashed out at the Centre asking what was holding up KM Joseph's appointment. He asked if the reason was his state, his religion or his judgement in the Uttarakhand case.
"As the law stands now, the recommendation of the SC collegium is final and binding in the appointment of judges. Is the Modi government above the law?" Chidambaram tweeted.
In a landmark judgement in 2016, Joseph had quashed President rule and revived the Harish Rawat-led Congress government in Uttarakhand.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Advocate Vikas Singh also questioned the Centre's decision stating that he has a huge reservation at the attitude of the government.
"There is no way by which they should not have cleared Justice KM Joseph's name," he said.
By making one appointment and not making another, the government has interfered in the functioning of the judiciary, he said. "This is a very serious matter and should be taken up with the government very strongly," Singh added.