New Delhi, Aug 7: Justices lndira Banerjee, Vineet Saran and K M Joseph have been sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court. There was no change in the order of seniority of the new judges.
The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra administered the oath first to Justice Indira Banerjee, which was followed by Justices Saran and Joseph. The oath was administered as per the seniority mentioned in the Presidential order.
Justice Joseph will have a tenure till June 16, 2023, Justice Banerjee will serve as a judge till September 9, 2022, and Justice Saran till May 10, 2022.
A controversy had broke out over the lowering of Justice Joseph's seniority. The government defended the move, saying it went purely by the "time tested" principle of high court seniority list.
Top sources in the government said here that Justice Joseph is two and a half years junior to justices lndira Banerjee and Vineet Saran in all-India seniority of high court judges.
But some senior judges were upset as they feel that since Justice Joseph's name was in-principle reiterated before the recommendation for justices Banerjee and Saran was made, he should have been their senior in the top court.
But government sources said the in-principle reiteration came to the government in July along with two other names.
They pointed out that the executive "went purely by the time tested principle of the high court seniority list" in placing Justice Joseph below justices Banerjee and Saran.
Quoting the resolution of the Supreme Court collegium recommending their elevation to the top court, they said Justice Banerjee was appointed as a high court (HC) judge on February 5, 2002, while
Justice Saran was appointed as a HC judge on February 14, 2002. Justice Joseph was appointed as a high court judge on October 14, 2004.
"In the all-lndia seniority of high court judges, Justice Baneriee is at number 4 while Justice Saran is at number 5. Justice Joseph is at the 39th place," a source said.
It was pointed out that none of the three judges will become the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as there are other SC judges who have been elevated to the Supreme Court earlier and they will also retire later.