Give due representation to SCs/STs in apex court: Govt

New Delhi: The government today sought due representation for SC and ST communities in the Supreme Court while rejecting a collegium recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the top court.

Chief Justice K M Joseph

In his letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, informing about the decision to return the recommendation of Justice Joseph and elevate senior advocate Indu Malhotra to the SC, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said “there is no representation of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the Supreme Court since long.”

As per the Constitution, there is no provision of reservation in higher judiciary — the Supreme court and the 24 high courts.

In Parliamentary replies, successive governments have maintained that they had been urging the SC collegium to give due representation to SCs, STs, minorities and women in judiciary.

Justice K G Balakrishnan had been the only CJI from the SC community in the recent past.

Prasad also referred to poor representation of various high courts in the top court.

Noting that the parent high court of Justice Joseph, the Kerala High Court, has adequate representation in the Supreme Court and other high courts, the Law Minister said high courts of Calcutta, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Manipur and Meghalaya have no representation in the top court.

Despite being a smaller court, the Kerala HC has Justice Kurian Joseph in the SC and justices T B Radhakrishnan and Antony Dominic heading the HCs of Chhattisgarh and Kerala respectively. Besides the three, Justice Joseph heads the Uttarakhand HC.