Indu Malhotra first woman lawyer set to be Supreme Court judge

Law minister explains why justice KM Joseph was not elevated as SC judge

Centre within its rights to not elevate Justice KM Joseph, says CJI Dipak Misra

The government is learnt to have cleared the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the Supreme Court, sources in the Law Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court Collegium had also asked for appointment of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge.

A previous recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium made in 2016 proposing transfer of Justice Joseph from Uttarakhand to Andhra Pradesh remains on hold with the government.

On January 22, the apex court collegium's file recommending the elevation of Justice Joseph and Malhotra reached the Law Ministry.

However, Malhotra's recommendation was caught in the crossfire of politics as the Centre appeared to be disinclined to elevate Chief Justice Joseph.

Justice Joseph, the fourth senior most judge after CJI Misra, had pointed out that the Executive has never sat this long on the recommendation put forth by the Collegium.

According to settled law as well as the draft Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), the set of rules that guides appointments to the higher judiciary, judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the collegium.

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Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

After sending the letter, Gogoi had also raised the demand of calling a "full court" during the traditional morning tea of Supreme Court judges.

The collegium had taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts, apart from their merit and integrity, the body of top five judges of the Supreme Court had said. "Government owes a duty to take a call on the recommendation as soon as the same is sent from the Collegium", Justice Joseph had said in his letter.

The paper reported that the chief justice was non-committal.

Later, a bench comprising the CJI, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrchud rejected the pleas seeking an independent probe into the Judge Loya's case which evoked sharp criticism from activist lawyers.

On Tuesday, two senior SC judges, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B. Lokur, also wrote to the CJI, asking him to summon a "full court" to discuss "institutional issues" and the "future" of the apex court.

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