Justice Kurian Joseph at his home. (Photo: Arpan Chaturvedi, BloombergQuint)

Justice Joseph Has No Regrets Over Making The Rift In Supreme Court Public

Justice Kurian Joseph said he doesn’t regret the decision to go public about differences with former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra when he, along with three other judges, held a rare press conference in January.

“There was no other way to address the issue of certain unhealthy practices in the Supreme Court,” Justice Joseph, who retired as the Supreme Court judge yesterday, told reporters at his home today. “Whatever I did, I did it consciously for a cause. And a cause for which there was no other way left.’’

In January, four senior Supreme Court judges—Justice Jasti Chelameswar (retired), Justice Ranjan Gogoi (current chief justice of India), Justice Madan Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph—addressed the media to raise questions regarding the allocation of cases and the delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure—a process that guides the appointment and transfer of high court and Supreme Court judges.

Before addressing the media in January, Justice Joseph said, the judges had made attempts to request Justice Misra to convene a full court to address the concerns raised by them.

“There should be a system in place to assist the chief justice in administrative matters in the top court,” Justice Joseph reiterated. Also, there have been discussions and steps are being taken to implement it under the current chief justice of India, he told BloombergQuint. Also, certain cases like bail, transfer petitions, among others, should be heard by a single judge bench in the top court instead of the current minimum quorum of a two-judge bench, he said.

But, Justice Joseph said, the government is not acting on the new norms for appointing judges even as the collegium is working as per the draft Memorandum of Procedure.

“What is the area of difference is not clear to anybody. I asked the CJI and he said the Memorandum of Procedure is final. So, from the collegium side it is final but from the government’s side it isn’t.”