Nine new judges to be sworn-in on Aug 31, says Supreme Court sources
New Delhi, Aug 26: Nine new judges, including three women, whose appointments to the Supreme Court have been cleared by the Centre, are likely to be sworn-in on August 31 by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, apex court sources said on Thursday.
President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the warrants of their appointment including that of Justice B V Nagarathna, who is in line to become the first woman CJI in September 2027.
Sources said that four out of nine new apex court judges are chief justices of different high courts and they need some time to wind up their administrative and judicial work there. They said in all the high courts, Friday is the last working day of the week and the judges need at least one working day to wind up their work there.
With a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, the Supreme Court as of now has 10 vacancies. Once the new judges will take oath next week, the top court will have only one vacancy. Besides Justice Nagarathna, the third senior-most judge of the Karnataka High Court, the other women judges who have been appointed to the apex court are Justice Hima Kohli, the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court, and Justice Bela M Trivedi, the fifth senior-most judge of the Gujarat High Court.
The chief justices of different high courts who have made it to the Supreme Court are -- Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court), Vikram Nath (Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court) and Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court). Besides them, Justice C T Ravikumar of the Kerala High Court and Justice M M Sundresh of the Madras High Court have also been appointed to the top court. Senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha has also been appointed as a judge of the apex court.
The apex court, which came into being on January 26, 1950, has seen very few women judges since its inception and in the last over 71 years has appointed only eight lady judges starting from M Fathima Beevi in 1989. Presently, Justice Indira Banerjee is the lone serving woman judge in the apex court after her elevation on August 7, 2018 from the Madras High Court where she was serving as the Chief Justice.
While high court judges retire at the age of 62, the retirement age of Supreme Court judges is 65. Justice Nagarathna, born on October 30, 1962, is the daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramiah. The Supreme Court collegium had last week recommended to the Centre these nine names for appointing them as judges of the apex court.
The recommendation by the Supreme Court's five-member collegium headed by CJI Ramana at its meeting on August 17 puts an end to the 21-month-long logjam over appointment of new judges to the top court. The impasse over the appointment had led to a situation in which not a single name for the judgeship in the apex court could be recommended after the superannuation of the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on November 17, 2019. Three out of these nine new judges are set to become the CJIs.
Justice Vikram Nath is in line to become the CJI upon retirement of sitting apex court judge Justice Surya Kant in February 2027.
Justice Nath would be succeeded by Justice Nagarathna, who would have a tenure of over a month as the head of the judiciary. Senior advocate Narasimha would succeed Justice Nagarathna as the CJI and would have a tenure of over six months.