The Union Law Ministry has reportedly returned the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, Justice KM Joseph as judges of the apex court.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had sent the names of Malhotra and Justice Joseph to the Law Ministry for elevation to the Supreme Court on January 22.
However, it is reported that the Law Ministry chose not to forward the two names to President of India Ramnath Kovind for his approval. The reasons for the same are unclear as of now.
The Supreme Court has been functioning with only one woman judge for the past three years with Justice R Banumathi being the only woman judge since October 29, 2014.
As Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Joseph had delivered a judgment quashing the President’s rule imposed in the State of Uttarakhand, a verdict that was seen to be a major embarrassment for the Centre.
The Collegium had agreed on recommending the names of the two individuals mentioned on January 10.
Just two days after the names were agreed upon, the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court after the Chief Justice of India took the unprecedented step of calling for a press conference, where they raised concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court under CJI Misra.
The judges had urged that a transparent mechanism guided by convention be adopted with respect to listing of cases. The CJI has subsequently made efforts to mend fences, and has reportedly called for a meeting of judges to discuss issues that need ironing out today.