The union government has approved all the nine names the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended for appointments as judges in the apex court. The government forwarded the list to President Ram Nath Kovind for warrants of appointment.
Once the president approves of the union government’s decision, the new judges will assume office. This may happen as early as the next week.
The current strength of the Supreme Court is 24. With the addition of nine judges, there will still be a vacancy of one judge in the top court.
Among the recommended names, Justice Nagarathna could eventually become the country’s first woman CJI, albeit for just over a month — from 25 September to 29 October 2027.
The Supreme Court, which came into being on 26 January 1950, has seen very few women judges since its inception and in the last over 71 years has appointed only eight women judges, starting with M Fathima Beevi in 1989.
Last week, the Supreme Court had officially announced that its collegium had recommended to the union government nine names, including three women high court judges, for appointing them as judges of the apex court. The recommendation by the Supreme Court’s five-member collegium headed by CJI NV Ramana ended the 21-month-long impasse over the appointment of new judges to the apex court. The five-member collegium has Justices UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao as members.
The logjam over the appointment had led to a situation where no judge’s name in the Supreme Court could be recommended after the superannuation of the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on 17 November 2019.
The collegium at its meeting held on 17 August recommended names of four chief justices of different high courts for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court. They are Justices Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court), Vikram Nath (Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court), Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court) and Justice Hima Kohli (Chief Justice of Telangana High Court). Besides them, Justice BV Nagarathna, if elevated to the top court, would become the first woman CJI in 2027. She is currently a judge of the Karnataka High Court.
The other four names are Justice CT Ravikumar of the Kerala High Court, Justice MM Sundresh of the Madras High Court, Justice Bela Trivedi from the Gujarat High Court and senior advocate PS Narasimha. Narasimha, if appointed, would become the sixth lawyer to be elevated to the apex court bench directly from the Bar. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General in 2014 and resigned from the post in 2018.