The much sought after minutes of Collegium meeting on 10th January have been made public. The Collegium in the meeting had recommended appointment of Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court Mr. KM Joseph to the Supreme Court. It had also sought to elevate Senior Advocate Ms. Indu Malhotra from the Bar. Remarkably, Justice Joseph is 45th in the line of seniority of the High Court judges. The Collegium, very categorically said, "The Collegium considers that at present Mr. Justice K.M.Joseph, who hails from Kerala High Court and is currently functioning as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, is more-deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and-senior puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges-of the Supreme Court of India."

The Supreme Court as on date has 6 vacancies. With the appointments of these two, the number will come down to 4. However, there are going to be a few judges retiring this year and the vacancies will go back to the same figure. Considering, other senior judges are not as deserving (in the words of the Collegium itself), is the Supreme Court going to function with less strength? Or will we see a number of appointments happening through the Bar.

Speculations are still rife about who the nest Chief Justice is going to be. It will be more interesting to see what appointments are made, and if any judge senior to Justice Joseph, agrees to become his junior at the Apex Court. Constitutionally, all judges are equal and the Supreme Court is a constitutional court. With the coming of the roster, the Apex Court could well consider it being called a court of appeals. For every question on constitution, who is shying away from a Constitution Bench? Only if it had the strength. 



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