Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar to resign today; KM Joseph's elevation pending

| Last Updated:

New Delhi:

With Supreme Court judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar demitting his office, the SC Collegium's structure and chemistry is all set to change from Friday onwards. Chelameswar will resign on Friday after a nearly seven-year tenure in the apex court.

Post-Chelameswar's exit, Justice AK Sikri will enter the five-member Collegium, which now consists of CJI Misra and Justices Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

On January 12, Justice Chelameswar was in headline after a three-judge bench headed by him, in an unprecedented press conference, mounted a virtual revolt against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and his style of functioning.

Apart from Chelameswar, the senior-most judge, the bench comprised justices Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who raised their voice against "selective" allocation of cases, including the sensitive case of special CBI judge BH Loya, who died on December 1, 2014.

Accusing the CJI for the first time in the chequered history of the SC, Justice Chelameswar said, "Many things that are less than desirable happened in the last few months".

"Unless this institution (Supreme Court) is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country, or any country. The survival of a democracy, it is said, the hallmark of a good democracy, is an independent and impartial judge," he stated.

Read | SC judge Jasti Chelameswar retires; shares bench with CJI Dipak Misra on last working day

The press conference on January 12 had sent grave shock in the court's corridor and left the country stunned.

Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the five-member Collegium will now delay the elevation of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge.

The Collegium earlier on May 11 agreed to appoint Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge but could not decide the date for pressing for his name to the centre.

On its next meeting on May 16, they deferred the decision saying "... There should be further deliberation and broad-based consideration of the names of the chief justices as well as judges of the high courts which are at present not represented in the Supreme Court."

The centre on April 26 returned Joseph's file back to the Collegium questioning his seniority among HC judges and asked to reconsider the recommendation.

Post that Justice Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph wrote to the CJI and other top court judges asking for the recommendation of the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court.

In its last meeting, the Collegium, however, had agreed to discuss the issue of sending the names of judges, including Joseph to the centre.

Read | Three senior Supreme Court judges meet CJI Misra to discuss Justice Joseph’s elevation

The judges of High Court whose names are considered by the collegium include Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy, and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.

After Justice Chelameswar, CJI Misra will resign on October 2, followed by Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Lokur, who will demit office in November and December respectively.

Justice Chelameswar was elevated as a judge to the Supreme Court on October 10, 2011.

First Published: