At the meeting of Collegium - the topmost decision-making body of the Supreme Court - the five senior-most judges, including Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously agreed to reiterate Justice KM Joseph's name to Centre for elevation as apex court judge.
The collegium comprises the CJI, and Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurien Joseph.
Justice Kurian Joseph, the fourth-most senior judge in the apex court and part of the Collegium, said "some of our worst fears are coming true" with the government selectively approving the recommendations made for elevation. "In view of the aforesaid, the meeting stands deferred for being held at 4.15 p.m. on Wednesday, 16th May, 2018".
Escalating its conflict with the judiciary, the Modi government last month appointed senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court, while ignoring the recommendation to elevate Joseph.
Such a move is also seen as softening the act of reiterating a name that the Centre has been seen to be particularly averse to.
They indicated that sending Justice Joseph's nomination along with the fresh recommendations would only give the government another opportunity to delay clearing his elevation by saying it would be approved along with the candidatures of the other nominees. But it remains to be seen what the Centre does when it formally receives the reiteration. However, the agenda for Friday's meeting dropped the term "fair representation" and simply stated that the collegium was "to consider names of HC judges for elevation as judges of the SC".More news: The seventh 'dissent' vs Sereno's ouster: Spokesman Ted Te speaks own mind
The meeting of the collegium was called by CJI Dipak Misra a day after Justice Chelameswar wrote to him seeking an early meeting of the collegium.
"The Chief Justice and other members of the Collegium have, on principle, unanimously agreed that the recommendation for appointment of Justice K M Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court [Parent High Court: Kerala] as a Judge of the Supreme Court should be reiterated". A wide range of issues relating to appointment of judges from High Courts, which did not have representation, was discussed, which remained inconclusive.
The delay in finalisation of the January 10 recommendations touched off protestations within.
Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, was also understood to have responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.
It is widely believed that the Centre is "revengeful" towards Justice Joseph as he had in April 2016 quashed President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016 and allowed Congress to come back to power.