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Life & Existence of SC Under Threat: Justice Kurian Joseph to CJI 

Justice Joseph has accused the Centre of sitting on SC collegium’s decision to appoint two judges since February. 

Published
India
2 min read
File image of Justice Kurian Joseph. 
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Justice Kurian Joseph has urged Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to act on the non-appointment of judges by the central government, stating that “history will not pardon us”, if he chose not to do so.

In a letter addressed to the CJI, accessed by The Indian Express, Justice Joseph warns that “the very life and existence of the Supreme Court is under threat” over the failure to act upon the collegium’s recommendations to appoint Indu Malhotra and Justice KM Joseph. The proposal to appoint the two as judges of the Supreme Court was mooted in February, he writes.

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In the letter, Justice Joseph also asks CJI Misra to establish a bench comprising seven senior-most judges to “suo motu” take up the matter regarding why the government has been sitting on the collegium recommendations since February.

It is the first time in the history of this court where nothing is known as to what has happened to a recommendation after three months.
Justice Kurian Joseph in his letter, as accessed by The Indian Express

Directing his ire towards the government for not allowing the appointments, Justice Joseph writes: “the government owes a duty to take a call on the recommendation as soon as the same is sent from the collegium. Failure to discharge their duty by sitting over on the recommendations of the collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is abuse of power”.

Justice Joseph and CJI Dipak Misra are a part of the collegium, as are Justices J Chelameswar, R Gogoi, M Lokur Joseph. In January, the senior judges had held an unprecedented press conference to protest CJI Misra’s administrative style.

As per the report, the letter was also sent to 22 other Supreme Court judges.

More than anything else, it sends a wrong message which is loud and clear to all Judges down the line not to cause any displeasure to the Executive lest they should suffer. Is this not a threat to the independence of the judiciary?
Justice Kurian Joseph in his letter, as accessed by The Indian Express
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The report also quotes Joseph as saying that the media and the judiciary were the watchdogs of democracy. In an interaction with students of the Kerala Media Academy on Monday, 9 April, he reportedly said: “Both the watchdogs have to be vigilant, barking for saving democracy, barking for when the owner’s property is in danger”.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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