5 New SC Judges Take Oath, More Likely
Current strength 28/31; Justice KM Joseph may be considered in next lot
New Delhi: Five judges were sworn in to the Supreme Court on Friday, taking their strength to a high of 28. A judicial representative hinted that there could be a few more elevations. The top court’s sanctioned strength is 31, including the Chief Justice of India.
Justices Naveen Sinha, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Deepak Gupta, Mohan M Shantanagouder and S. Abdul Nazeer were sworn by CJI JS Khehar early in the day. Sinha was Rajasthan high court chief justice, Kaul was Madras HC CJ, Gupta was Chhattisgarh HC CJ, Shantanagouder was Kerala HC CJ and Nazeer was Karnataka HC CJ before they were elevated.
Kaul’s non-elevation by the collegium headed by former CJI TS Thakur was a major bone of contention between the collegium and the government and had virtually stalled the appointments process of judges to higher courts. The spat resulted in the government not clearing appointment of judges to high courts that were functioning at less than half their sanctioned strengths. The new collegium cleared Kaul’s elevation, ending the spat with the government.
However, the decision to overlo- ok the case of Justice KM Joseph of the Uttarakhand high court came as a surprise to judicial quarters. A judicial representative said that there could be more elevations, may be within a month, and Justice Joseph is likely to be one of them.
“Justice Joseph is a judge of impeccable integrity, and calibre. But he still has time on his side. His name will be considered soon,” the representative said, hin- ting at fresh collegium meetings to consider more recommendations. According to the representative, his transfer from Uttarakhand to Andhra Pradesh, which was not completed, will not stand in the way of his elevation.
His name will be considered along with a few more judges. Other names include Gujarat HC Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and J&K High Court Chief Justice Paul Vasanthakumar.