Nainital: Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph appears unfazed despite being at the centre of a raging debate over his eligibility for elevation as a judge of the Supreme court.
A seasoned jurist known for his jovial nature in legal circles, Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph upheld the dignity of his post, calmly going through the day's work yesterday even as the nation vigorously debated the rift between the judiciary and the government over the issue.
The Centre has sent back for reconsideration the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium to elevate him. It accepted the recommendation on Justice Indu Malhotra, who took oath as a judge of the apex court today.
While the television news channels debated the issue, Justice Joseph held a full day's court yesterday. Sitting in a division bench, he spent most of the day hearing a case of employees of the state forest department claiming pension benefits from the Uttarakhand government. "He was in his usual jolly mood, disposing of cases with patience as he always does, advocate D S Patni who appeared in a case before Justice Joseph said. After the court wrapped up its business for the day, the judge continued with his daily routine of taking a leisurely walk in the evening on Mall Road.
The Uttarakhand Chief Justice is often lost in the crowd of tourists in the lake town as he prefers to walk alone in the evenings, without the security cover he is entitled to. The 59-year-old judge is known for keeping his cool in the most adverse of circumstances.
A couple of years back Justice Joseph had to be rushed to hospital in an air ambulance.
As lawyers worried about his health, those close to him said Justice Joseph managed to maintain calm throughout the period.
Justice Joseph headed the bench that quashed Narendra Modi government's decision to impose President's rule in the Congress-ruled state in 2016. The BJP government at the Centre, however, denies that not accepting the Collegium's recommendation on Justice Mathew had anything to do with that verdict.