The centre on Wednesday cleared the elevation of four judges to the Supreme Court. The move paves the way for the swearing-in of the judges on Friday, following which the apex court will have its full strength of 31 judges after a gap of five years.
The centre is likely to issue the notification on the elevations on Thursday after President Ram Nath Kovind signs the letters of appointment.
On 12 April, a five-member collegium of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recommended the elevation of Chief Justice of the Jharkhand high court Aniruddha Bose and Chief Justice of the Gauhati high court A.S. Bopanna as Supreme Court judges. In a separate resolution on 8 May, the collegium recommended Bombay high court Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court Surya Kant for elevation to the top court.
The collegium said that while recommending Justices Bose and Bopanna, it not only focused on merit and integrity but “also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the high courts".
The centre had, however, objected to the recommendations on grounds of seniority.
Subsequently, the collegium overruled the centre’s objections. The recommendations were made by considering “the combined seniority on all-India basis of chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts", it said. Nothing adverse was found regarding their competence, conduct or integrity, it said.
“On his appointment, the Supreme Court bench will have a judge belonging to Scheduled Caste category after about a decade," the collegium said, while referring to Justice Gavai.
In reference to Justice Kant, it said there would be two judges on the bench of the Supreme Court from the Punjab and Haryana high court, which has the distinction of representing two large states, and is the third-largest high court in the country.
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