Chidambaram on Justice Joseph: Religion or rulings, what holds Modi govt back from elevating him?
A day after Centre green-flagged senior advocate Indu Malhotra's elevation as a Supreme Court judge, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram seems delighted but with a modicum of disappointment in tow.
The Congress leader took to Twitter today, raising questions over the Centre holding back Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph's elevation to Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the names of both Malhotra and Justice KM Joseph for elevation to the apex court.
Chidamabaram, in his tweets, asked why the Centre had not cleared KM Joseph's name.
His comments added to the long-standing discourse over the Modi government's alleged disfavour towards Justice Joseph, who in 2016 delivered a judgment critical of the Centre.
In 2016, Joseph had set aside President's rule in Uttarakhand, bringing back the Harish Rawat-led Congress government, but leaving the Modi sarkar red-faced.
The judgment accused the Centre of blatant falsehood and behaving like a private party. In addition, the court had raised serious questions about the prime minister's judgement as well as former President Pranab Mukherjee's behaviour.
Delighted that Ms Indu Malhotra will be sworn in as Judge of the Supreme Court tomorrow. Disappointed that Justice K M Joseph's appointment is still on hold.P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 26, 2018
What is holding up Justice K M Joseph's appointment? His State or his religion or his judgement in the Uttarakhand case?P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 26, 2018
And since, political pundits have maintained this to be the bone of contention between the Uttarakhand High Court Justice and the incumbent government.
The government's alleged discontentment with both the judgment and the justice also subsequently paved way for murmurs that Centre could use it to stonewall Justice KM Joseph's elevation as an apex court judge.
On January 10, the Collegium, had recommended Justice Joseph for an elevation to the Supreme Court and had described him as "more deserving" and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices.
India Today had earlier reported that government's "disagreement" over Justice Joseph's elevation is based on the seniority criteria fixed by the court. Justice Joseph is way low in the "seniority list". He is said to be 45th in seniority among High Court judges and 12th in the seniority list of High Court Chief Justices.
But, with the Centre's delay on putting its stamp on Joseph's name since, has only fuelled the theory Chidambaram blatantly tweeted today.
As things stand today, if the government returns the Collegium's recommendation with a request for "reconsideration" and the collegium "re-sends" the proposal, the government would have no option but to accept it.