In a startling revelation, former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, in his autobiography ‘Justice for the Judge’, has spoken of how ‘strong-arm tactics’ had been used by CJI Dipak Misra against the government during his tenure as CJI over the appointment of Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.
In 2018, the collegium and the government were stuck in a protracted stand-off over the appointment of Justice Joseph, who was then the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the Supreme Court of India.
The Collegium, then headed by CJI Misra, had recommended and re-recommended Justice Joseph’s name but the Centre did not give its consent for the elevation. Buzz was that Justice Joseph’s decision to not impose President’s Rule in Uttarakhand was the primary reason for his elevation being stalled but the Government had rubbished these rumours.
It was only in August 2018, eight months after Justice Joseph’s name was first recommended by the Collegium, did the Centre finally give in and notified his appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court. But this could only be achieved due to the use of ‘strong-arm tactics’ by CJI Misra.
“I have reasons to believe that CJI Misra used strong-arm tactics, i.e. threatened to resign if Justice Joseph was not appointed,” Justice Gogoi writes in his book.
Justice Joseph’s elevation to the Supreme Court had attracted a lot of controversy at the time with Justice Chelameswar writing to all judges of the Supreme Court in March asking CJI Dipak Misra to call a full court to discuss the issue of alleged government interference in the appointment of judges.