Kurian Joseph


8th Mar 2013 - 29th Jun 2018

Justice Joseph is a stalwart in the Indian Judiciary. He did his LLB from the Kerala Law Academy Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. And was a Member of the Academic Council, Kerala University (1977-78). He was also the General Secretary of the Kerala University Union (1978), and a Senate Member of Cochin University (1983-85).

Justice Joseph began legal practice in 1979 in the High Court of Kerala. In 10 years, he was appointed as  Government Pleader. He was named as the Additional Advocate General in 1994, and was designated as Senior Advocate in 1996.

Four years later, Justice Joseph was elevated as Judge, High Court of Kerala, and was made the President of the Kerala Judicial Academy (2006-08);he was also made the Chairman of Legal Service Authorities in Kerala (2009-10) and Lakshadweep (2008), and the Kerala High Court (2006-09).

Justice Joseph served as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala twice, and was subsequently appointed as Chief Justice of High Court of Himachal Pradesh from 2010 to 2013. He was then elevated as Judge, Supreme Court of India on 8th March, 2013. Justice Joseph is due to retire on 30th November, 2018

Notable Judgements

Justice Joseph was instrumental in the judgement invalidating the appointment of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC). In the ratio of 4:1, it the Supreme Court upheld the existing collegium system of appointment of Judges, and declared the 99th Amendment to the Constitution unconstitutional.

Along with Justice Dave, he also initially heard Yakub Memons appeal to the Supreme Court, but due to differing opinions between both, the matter was referred to a constitutional Bench of the Court.

Justice Joseph, writing the judgement for a 3-Judge Bench including Chief Justice Lodha and Justice Nariman, held that electronic evidence must be admissible as evidence only after its authenticity is verified. It thus stated that the position taken by the Court in the 2005 Parliament Attack case (also known as the case of Afzal Guru) was legally incorrect.

He was also part of the majority verdict given by the Supreme Court declaring the practice of ‘triple talaq’ as unconstitutional and violative of the womans right under Article 21 of the Constitution. Declaring that such a practice is not integral to the Islamic religion, the Court in a ratio of 3:2 struck down the practice. The minority judgement, of which the Chief Justice was part declared that the Parliament had to draft a law on the matter.

A 3-Judge Bench, of which Justice Joseph is part is hearing the controversial Coal Allocation Scam case and vowed to free the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from any political and bureaucratic interference.


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