New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday signed the warrant of appointment of all nine Supreme Court judges recommendations by the Apex Court collegium 10 days ago. They include Justice BV Nagarathna, elevated from the Karnataka High Court, who will be in line to be the first woman Chief Justice of India in September 2027.
This leaves just one vacancy in the sanctioned strength of 34 judges that occurred from the retirement of Justice Navin Sinha, a day after the collegium cleared the list of nine. The Prime Minister's office (PMO) cleared the collegium-recommended list on Wednesday evening and the President signed the orders on Thursday.
Those promoted to the Supreme Court are four Chief Justices of High Court -- Justices Abhay Oka of Karnataka, Vikram Nath of Gujarat, Hima Kohl of Telangana and JK Maheshwari of Sikkim -- as also four other senior judges -- Justices Nagarathna, CT Ravikumar (Kerala), MM Sundresh (Mdrs) and Bela M Trivedi (Gujarat). Ninth elevated from the Bar is senior advocate PS Narasimha. Justice Oka is originally from the Bombay High Court where he joined the judiciary in 2003.
These are the first appointments to the Supreme Court after 23 months. The last five appointments of Justices Krishna Murari, Shrpathi Ravindra Bhat, V Ramasubramanian and Justice Hrishikesh Roy were made on September 23, 2019. Since then, the collegium did not send names for appointment in view of objections raised by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman as the practice is to have unanimity in the appointment of the names.
Justice Nariman retired on August 12 and CJI NV Ramana convened the new collegium only five days after his retirement to have unanimity in recommending the new names.
There is going to be no new vacancy in the Supreme Court this year while eight judges are due for retirement in 2022, including CJI Rmana on August 26. The next first vacancy falls on May 10 when Justice Vinit Saran retires. Other judges to retire before the CJI are Justices A M Khanwilkar on July 29 and L Nageswara Rao on August 7.
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit is in the line to be the CJI in August when the present incumbent Ramana retires, but he will have a very short term of less than three months since he retires on November 8. The other judge to retire in 2022 is Justice Indira Banerjee.
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