Did Central Government unnecessarily politicize SC Judge appointment?

This week the drama surrounding the Supreme Court recommendation for appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a judge in the Supreme Court ruled the news headlines.

Justice KM Joseph, uttarakhand high court chief justice, senior lawyer indu malhotra, justice indu malhotraWhat is the drama?

The Supreme Court collegium unanimously recommended the Central Government to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph as a judge in the Supreme Court. The Government said no to Joseph’s elevation as SC judge.

In its defense the Government in its letter to the CJI gave all sorts of arguments ranging from –

…promotion is not ‘appropriate’ as 11 chief justices of various high courts are senior to him in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority List.

… it would also not be fair and justified to other more senior, suitable and deserving Chief Justices.

… the other High Courts are not represented in the Supreme Court at present,

… in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority List, Justice Joseph is placed at number 42.

… there is no representation of SCs/STs in the Supreme Court since long,

For some reason, none of the above arguments looks convincing. If the Centre wants to say no to any person, then it can do so. But the arguments must at least look reasonable.

If the appointment is being stalled because of the fear of injustice to judges much senior to Justice KM Joseph, then why did the collegium of Supreme Court chose KM Joseph.

That apart, all the other reasonings look equally out of place. It seems that what the Supreme Court collegium focused on was the ability of KM Joseph as a judge. If the Centre also focused on the candidate’s merit as a judge(because it is raising the flag of merit as well), then why did it bring all those other dimensions to the debate?

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