As reported earlier, the Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the elevation of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court Justice KM Joseph to the apex court.
The Collegium had met on January 10 to discuss the filling up of six vacancies at the Supreme Court.
After considering names of Chief Justices and other judges of the High Courts, the Collegium has seen it fit to recommend KM Joseph J for elevation as a Supreme Court judge, despite his not featuring high on the seniority list. The resolution states,
“The Collegium considers that at present Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph, who hails from Kerala High Court and is currently functioning as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India.”
The Collegium had also considered names from the Bar, and ended up choosing Malhotra for elevation, stating,
“We have also considered the names of eminent members of the Bar. In our considered opinion, at present, Ms. Indu Malhotra, Senior Advocate, is eminently suitable for being appointed as a Judge in the Supreme Court.”
There have been conflicting news articles on the Centre’s approval of these names, with the New Indian Express reporting that the Law Ministry had sent these names back to the Collegium. However, another opinion was expressed stating that the Law Ministry had yet to come to a decision regarding the same.
If the recommendations go through, Malhotra will be the seventh woman judge in the history of the Supreme Court. She will also be the first woman judge to be elevated directly from the Bar.
Malhotra also holds the distinction of being only the second woman lawyer to be designated Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court, the first being Justice Leila Seth.
As Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Joseph had pronounced a judgment quashing the President’s rule imposed in the State of Uttarakhand.
More than two years ago, the Collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Joseph from Uttarakhand High Court to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. However, the Central government is yet to clear that file. An RTI query regarding the same was met with a response that the same is under consideration.
Read the resolution: