On April 26, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had announced that the government had cleared the elevation of advocate Ms Indu Malhotra and put on hold Justice Joseph's elevation. However, the Supreme Court Collegium has made a decision to defer consideration of their names for now.
The government had objected to his appointment, saying he was too junior to become a Supreme Court judge.
This means that he would have to wait till the collegium decides on the names of the other probable candidate. The collegium had earlier made a decision to consider other names from various high courts for appointment as SC judges and had deferred the deliberations to May 16.
The Collegium is to meet again on May 16 to discuss the other judges. The Centre had sent back Justice Joseph's name for reconsideration. At the May 11 meeting of the collegium, comprising CJI Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, it was unanimously chose to reiterate the proposal to elevate Justice K M Joseph. The material considered includes the report of a two-Judge committee constituted to assess the judgments passed by Justice Jhala and the other recommended judges. The details of its recommendations were, however, not available as they were not uploaded on the Supreme Court website, as is the practice.
In its last meeting on 11 May, the collegium comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and four other senior-most Supreme Court judges had decided in principle to recommend Justice Joseph's name to the Centre once again, but it had adopted a resolution to defer the proposal until it could deliberate upon elevation of other judges as well.
There are now seven vacancies in the Supreme Court, with two more vacancies likely to arise in the next two months, due to the retirement of Justices J. Chelameswar on June 22, and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on July 6.