Justice K.M. Joseph: Rate of Judgement Authorship
Justice K.M. Joseph has authored judgements in 33% of the Benches he was part of.
Justice K.M. Joseph retired today after serving a tenure of 4.75 years at the Supreme Court. Justice Joseph was part of 403 Benches and authored over 130 judgements during his tenure. He has authored judgements in 33% of the Benches he was part of.
Figure 1 shows the number of judgements authored by Justice Joseph each year since his elevation to the SC in 2018. The figure also depicts the number of Benches and how many judgements he has authored per Bench.
For each passing year, Justice Joseph contributed a greater number of Judgements for each Bench he was a part of. During his first year at the SC, he was part of 31 benches and authored 3 judgements. He authored only 9.7% of the judgements per Bench.
In 2019, which was Justice Joseph’s first full year at the SC, the number of benches he was part of increased drastically. He was part of 146 Benches and authored 35 judgements. His judgement authorship per bench also increased to 24% that year. This year appears to be an exception compared to the remaining years of his career.
There was a drop in judgement authorship and the number of benches he was part of in 2020. This can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a gradual increase in numbers over the next two years.
In 2021 he was part of 69 Benches and authored 27 judgements. His rate of authorship was 37%.
He was part of 71 Benches in 2022 and authored a total of 40 judgements. This is the highest number of judgements in any year during his 4.75-year tenure. His rate of authorship was 60%.
In 2023, though his authorship rate was 60%. He authored only 15 judgements and was part of 25 Benches.
Justice Joseph, who was among the top 5 most prolific judgement writers in the SC, made a deep impact on the law. Though Justice Shah retired with a higher number of judgements (712) under his belt, Justice Joseph’s judgements in 4 Constitution Benches arguably had a higher qualitative impact.