The Supreme Court's five-member collegium on Wednesday met briefly but adjourned for next week its discussion on the Centre's rejection of the candidature of Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court K M Joseph for elevation to the highest court.
It considered the names of judges from Calcutta, Rajasthan and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Courts but "deferred" the decision, without giving next date of the meeting.
In a statement, the apex court said it took note of the letters it received from the Centre on 26 and 30 April. Prasad noted that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was elected with a three-fourths majority previous year.
Last month as many as 100 top Supreme Court lawyers had called for an extraordinary meeting to protest against the Narendra Modi government's decision to return the file on Justice KM Joseph's recommendations to the Collegium.
The members of the Collegium, including Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph had expressed concern over the delay in clearing the name of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice as the Supreme Court judge.
Taking the example of Justice Khehar, who had set aside the National Judicial Commission initiative, Prasad said that he too became Chief Justice of India during BJP-led NDA government. Among those were Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Kurian Joseph.
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He was appointed a permanent judge of the Kerala High Court on October 14, 2004, and assumed charge of the Uttarakhand High Court on July 31, 2014. The Centre cleared Mahotra but sent back Justice K M Joseph's case to the collegium for reconsideration citing three issues - lack of "seniority", "Kerala HC already having adequate representation in SC" and "non-appointment of judges belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities".
Indu Malhotra was sworn in last week.
Jaising told the court that the government was stalling justice Joseph's elevation because as chief justice of the Uttarakhand high court, he had quashed the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016, leading to the reinstatement of the Congress party government led by Harish Rawat.
His seniority was also questioned by the Centre which said "he stands at Sl".
After putting on hold justice Joseph's elevation, law minister wrote to the CJI that it would "not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable, and deserving chief justices and senior judges of various high courts".
Some lawyers had even mentioned the matter before CJI Dipak Misra and demanded that there should be a stay on the warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra till the file of Justice Joseph is cleared.