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Collective assertion — On Justice Joseph’s elevation

It may no longer be possible for the Union government to delay Justice K.M. Joseph’s elevation(ऊंचाई/उन्नति) to the Supreme Court. The five-member collegium has unanimously(सर्वसम्मति /एक मत से) agreed, in principle, to reiterate(दोहराना) its recommendation to appoint the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court as a judge of the Supreme Court. When reiterated unanimously, the Centre is bound to act on the collegium resolution(प्रस्ताव/समाधान), going by the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the Third Judges Case of 1998. The Centre, which denies(अस्वीकार करना) that its objection had anything to do with Justice Joseph’s decision in 2016 to quash the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, ought not to delay his appointment once the reiteration(पुनरावृत्ति) is formally made. However, it is puzzling that the collegium didn’t send its reiteration to the Centre immediately. It has decided that his name would be part of the next set of recommendations(सिफ़ारिश/प्रशंसा), which would include proposals to elevate the Chief Justices of some more high courts. One explanation for this could be that the collegium wants to address the concern the Centre has indirectly raised about the need for fair representation to all high courts. While objecting to Justice Joseph’s appointment on the ground that he was not senior enough, the Centre spoke about ‘excessive(अत्यधिक /बहिसाब) representation(‘प्रतिनिधित्व)’ that a relatively ‘small’ high court (the Kerala High Court) may get after his appointment.

While the unanimous reiteration may end the current controversy(वादविवाद/तकरार), there is a larger issue here: the propriety of the Centre holding back one or two names from a list of recommendations and clearing the rest. Justice Joseph’s name was sent along with that of senior advocate Indu Malhotra in January, but the Centre took three months to act on it. It cleared her name alone, while seeking reconsideration(पुनर्विचार) of Justice Joseph’s name. That it has a right to raise a particular judge’s case is beyond question, but selectively(चुनिंदा/चुनते हुए) approving some names from a batch of recommendations can make a difference to the seniority of the judges concerned — especially when seniority is the sole consideration for appointment of the Chief Justice as well as membership of the collegium. In a judge-recommended system of appointments, one that is peculiar to India, differences over particular candidates cannot be avoided, but it ought to be possible for the two sides to minimise these differences and act expeditiously(शीघ्रता से). The onus is more on the government of the day to ensure it is not seen as blocking the appointment of anyone the judges themselves have found fit and deserving(योग्य/क़ाबिल). It does not augur well for the institution(संस्था/रिवाज) if the present consultative process, admittedly not an ideal one for a diverse democracy, is seen to be vitiated(बिगाड़ना/भंग करना) by executive(शासनात्मक/कार्यकारी) intransigence(कट्टरता/कठोरता).


Important Vocabulary

1.Unanimously(सर्वसम्मति /एक मत से)
Synonyms: collectively, commonly, consistently, universally, agreeingly
Antonyms: differently, diver gently, opposite

2.Denies(अस्वीकार करना)
Synonyms: ban, call on, contradict, oppose, rebuff
Antonyms: OK, accept, allow, approve, ratify

Synonyms: restatement, recapitulation, redundancy, repeat

Synonyms: argument, bickering, difference, discussion, fuss
Antonyms:agreement, concurrence, peace, compliment, harmony

5.Vitiated(बिगाड़ना/भंग करना)
Synonyms: annihilate, negate, quash, abate, abolish
Antonyms: allow, help, permit, affirm, approve

Synonyms: inflexibility, obstinacy, bullheadedness, contumacy, doggedness




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