New Delhi: The Supreme Court Collegium -- the group of top five judges which takes the final call on judicial appointments -- is expected to decide today whether to recommend the name of Justice KM Joseph again for a slot in the top court. Last month, the government turned down the collegium's suggestion to elevate Justice Joseph, triggering allegations from the Congress that he was being punished for his decision to cancel central rule in Uttarakhand in 2016.
The rejection, a first, has caused an unprecedented face-off between the government and the judiciary. A chunk of the legal community viewed it as an encroachment on the independence of judiciary.
There were repeated calls to hold off the oath ceremony for Indu Malhotra, the other candidate who got clearance from the government. Chief Justice Dipak Misra turned down the demand.
After the collegium's last meeting on May 2, sources told NDTV that the judges are firm on their choice. The collegium, however, did consider the names of judges from three other high courts in view of "fair representation".
Justice Jasti Chelameswar has written to Justice Misra, urging that the Collegium meet as soon as possible and reiterate their choice of Justice Joseph. Rules require the government to approve a name in case of a second recommendation.
The government has insisted that its rejection has nothing to do with the Uttarakhand verdict and said the decision has the backing of President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources said the government's argument is that Justice Joseph's elevation would increase the number of judges from the Kerala High Court to two, even though many high courts did not have any representation in the top court. Justice Joseph, the government also contended, was not among the senior high court chief justices.