Justice Banerjee and Saran, and Justice Joseph swearing-in:SC

Highlights:

  • Justice K.M. Joseph is scheduled to take oath as Supreme Court judge, third in line to Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran.
  • A few Supreme Court judges met Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about the issue of the government superceding the Collegium to alter the seniority of Justice K.M. Joseph, who is scheduled to take oath as Supreme Court judge, third in line to Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran.
  • The Chief Justice told the judges that he would take up the matter with the government and meet with Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal.
  • According to the circular, Justices Banerjee and Saran would take precedence over Justice Joseph.
  • Though the Supreme Court Collegium of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A.K. Sikri had on July 16 separately reiterated Justice Joseph’s name as Supreme Court judge, an August 3, 2018 communication from the Department of Justice to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court.
  • The President has directed that the oath of affirmation should be administered first to Justice Banerjee, then Justice Saran and finally to Justice Joseph.
  • The oath ceremony circular issued by the Supreme Court clearly complies with the President’s direction.
  • The Collegium, which had separately reiterated Justice Joseph’s name and done so before recommending the names of Justice Banerjee and Saran, had made its intention clear that they wanted Justice Joseph to be ranked senior in the Supreme Court to the other two judges.
  • This is the second time that Justice Joseph has been superceded as Supreme Court judge.
  • The first time was when his name was originally recommended by the Collegium to the Supreme Court along with Indu Malhotra, then a senior advocate, on January 10 this year.
  • As the sitting Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Joseph ranked senior to Ms. Malhotra, who was a direct selection from the Bar.
  • But the government returned Justice Joseph’s file and appointed Ms. Malhotra as Supreme Court judge in April.
  • However, this alteration of seniority does not in any way affect Justice Joseph’s tenure in the Supreme Court.
  • He would rise in the apex court hierarchy to preside over court number three before retiring on June 16, 2023. Both Justices Banerjee and Saran would retire in 2022.
  • Justice Joseph, as Uttarakhand Chief Justice, authored the judgment which quashed the President’s rule in the State and restored the Congress government.