SC judges upset at change in Justice Joseph’s seniority

A few Supreme Court judges intend to meet Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday to express dissatisfaction over the government altering Justice K.M. Joseph’s seniority, making him junior to Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran in the apex court.

According to highly placed sources in the Supreme Court, the judges are “upset and agitated” by the way the government seemed to have overlooked the fact that the collegium had “separately reiterated” Justice Joseph’s name to the government on July 16, before recommending Justices Banerjee and Saran. The names of the latter two judges were recommended as a separate batch on the same day (July 16).

Swearing-in on Tuesday

The three judges – Justices Banerjee, Saran and Joseph — are scheduled to be sworn in on August 7 as Supreme Court judges. Justice Joseph is presently to be sworn in third following Justices Banerjee and Saran “in precedence on the Bench of the Supreme Court.”

“Obviously when Justice Joseph’s name is considered and reiterated separately, the collegium intended Justice Joseph to be ranked senior to the other two (Justices Banerjee and Saran). But it appears that it has been altered at the executive stage. The collegium was very clear in its mind that Justice Joseph must rank senior… This is very strange in a way,” former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha told
The Hindu
on Sunday over phone.

“It depends on the Chief Justice of India… how he wants to handle it. Unless the matter is taken up immediately by the CJI, nothing is going to happen,” Justice Lodha said.

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