Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Sanjiv Khanna sworn-in as SC judges

Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna were sworn-in as Supreme Court judges on Friday.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi administered the oath of office to justices Maheshwari and Khanna during the swearing-in ceremony held in court number 1 of the apex court.

The sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court is 31. With the swearing-in of justices Maheshwari and Khanna, the strength has now gone up to 28.

While Justice Maheshwari was the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Khanna was a judge in the Delhi High Court.

The government had on Wednesday notified the appointment of justices Maheshwari and Khanna as judges of the apex court.

The five-member Supreme Court Collegium, comprising CJI Gogoi and justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Arun Mishra, had on January 10 recommended the names of justices Maheshwari and Khanna for elevation as apex court judges.

The names of the chief justices of the Rajasthan and Delhi high courts, justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon respectively, were considered by the collegium on December 12, 2018 for elevation, but the deliberation remained inconclusive and one of the members of the collegium, Justice M B Lokur, retired on December 30, 2018.

His place in the collegium was taken by Justice Arun Mishra.

The new collegium had, on January 10, ignored the prospect of elevation of justices Nandrajog and Menon as apex court judges.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) had, on Wednesday, protested the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Khanna by superseding several other judges and termed the decision as “whimsical and arbitrary”.

Before the BCI made a statement protesting the collegium’s decision, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court also wrote a note to the CJI and other members of the collegium for ignoring the seniority of justices Nandrajog and Menon.

Sources said Justice Kaul was of the view that a wrong signal would go out if the two chief justices, who were above Justice Khanna in the seniority list, were not elevated as apex court judges.

Delhi High Court judges inspect trial courts

Several Delhi High Court judges led by Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Gita Mittal today carried out surprise inspection of the six district courts here.

A similar exercise was carried out in August last year, when the judges had made surprise checks at all the district courts in the national capital and found that several of them had not even started functioning as the judicial officers were late.

The judges’ teams, including Justices Ravindra Bhat, Sanjiv Khanna, G S Sistani, S Muralidhar, Vipin Sanghi and Hima Kohli, went to all the District Courts.

ACJ Mittal visited the Saket court complex here along with Justice Kohli to get a first-hand account of punctuality of judges, working atmosphere and cleanliness.

“Delhi High Court, being the supervisory authority of the subordinate courts here, today went on to inspect all the six district court of the city. Its purpose was to check whether the judicial officers were sitting on time. It was also to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the litigants, lawyers and also the judicial officers themselves,” sources close to the Delhi High Court registry said.

Interestingly, during the earlier inspection, Justice Mittal had taken an auto-rickshaw to reach the Patiala House court’s complex here in order to keep the special operation confidential. However, this time the high court judges used their private vehicles.

The sources also said that other senior judges carried out similar inspections of trial court complexes at Patiala house, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Dwarka.

The High Court, in the recent times, has taken strict view of laxity and impropriety on the part of the judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary.