Nine new Supreme Court judges take oath, strength rises to 33


Image Source : ANI

Nine new Supreme Court judges take oath

Nine new judges, including three women, were administered the oath of office as judges of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana today. 

It is for the first time in the history of the apex court when nine judges took the oath of office at one go. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the auditorium of the Supreme Court’s additional building complex. Traditionally, the oath of office to new judges is administered in the CJI’s courtroom.

With the swearing-in of the nine new judges today, the strength of the Supreme Court rises to 33, including the CJI, out of the sanctioned strength of 34.

The nine new judges who were administered the oath of office as apex court judges include — Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (who was the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court), Justice Vikram Nath (who was the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court), Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (who was the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court), Justice Hima Kohli (who was the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court) and Justice B V Nagarathna (who was a judge of the Karnataka High Court).

Besides them, Justice C T Ravikumar (who was a judge of the Kerala High Court), Justice M M Sundresh (who was a judge of the Madras High Court), Justice Bela M Trivedi (who was a judge of the Gujarat High Court) and P S Narasimha (who was a senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General) would also be administered the oath of office by the CJI.

Justice Nagarathna is in line to become the first woman CJI in September 2027. Justice Nagarathna, born on October 30, 1962, is the daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramiah. 

Three out of these nine new judges – Justices Nath and Nagarathna and Narasimha are in line to become the CJI. Justice Nath is in line to become the CJI upon the 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.

Narasimha would succeed Justice Nagarathna as the CJI and would have a tenure of over six months.

The apex court Collegium had on August 17 recommended these nine names for appointment as judges of the top court. Later, President Ram Nath Kovind had signed the warrants of their appointment as apex court judges.

The top 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.

The recommendation of these nine names by the five-member collegium headed by CJI Ramana at its meeting on August 17 had put an end to the 21-month-long logjam over the 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 then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on November 17, 2019.

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