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.

Collegium meet on Justice K M Joseph’s elevation to Supreme Court concludes

A crucial meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium was held today to discuss the issue of reconsidering the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation to the apex court, after it was returned by the Centre.

Official sources said the members of the Collegium deliberated on the issue for nearly an hour. Details on the outcome of the meeting are awaited.

All members of the Collegium — Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, participated in the deliberations.

The decision to convene the meeting was taken late last evening by the CJI.

It is pertinent to mention that Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the apex court, had on May 9 written a letter to the CJI urging him to convene the Collegium meet to urgently forward Justice Joseph’s name to the Centre.

The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails. It had also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court.

According to an apex court official, Justice Chelameswar, in his letter sent to the CJI, had conveyed that he was reiterating his decision favaouring elevation of Justice Joseph as the judge of the top court as there was no change in the circumstances that had led the Collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10.

It is also learnt that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

The meeting of the Collegium was expected to take place on May 9 but Justice Chelameswar was on leave.

Justice Kurian Joseph, during his visit to Kerala last week, had also reportedly made it clear that he was in favour of reiterating the recommendation of the Collegium on the issue concerning the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.

Govt asks Supreme Court collegium to reconsider recommendation on Joseph

The government on Thursday returned to the Supreme Court collegium its recommendation to elevate Justice KM Joseph to the supreme court and asked it to reconsider it, a move which may widen rift between the judiciary and the executive.

This comes a day after the government cleared the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the Supreme Court and kept in abeyance a decision on Joseph, who heads the Uttarakhand High Court. Both the names were recommended by the collegium in January

In a ruling in 2016, Justice Joseph had cancelled President’s rule in the northern state of Uttarakhand and brought back the Congress government of Harish Rawat to power. The judgement was seen as major set back to the BJP-ruled government at the Centre

The government’s decision of not approving Joseph’s name has evoked sharp reactions with the Supreme Court Bar Association President terming it as “disturbing”

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra this morning requesting the collegium, a group of five senior-most judges that selects judges for the apex court, to reconsider its decision on recommending Justice Joseph to be a judge of the top court

Prasad also informed the CJI that senior advocate Malhotra has on Thursday been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court.

Collegium clears Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph as judges of SC

The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the apex court, sources said today.

Along with her, Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph, who was part of the bench which in 2016 had quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, has also been cleared for elevation to the apex court.

At a meeting held on January 10, the collegium also recommended the name of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh-I, presently an Additional Judge, for appointment as a Permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Justice Joseph was appointed as Permanent Judge of the Kerala High Court in 2004 and later transferred to Uttarakhand High Court where he assumed charge in 2014 as Chief Justice.

Malhotra, who was designated as a senior advocate in 2007, would be the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the top court, instead of being elevated from a high court.

She will be the seventh woman judge since independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court.

Since Independence, only six women judges have made it to the apex court as judges and the first appointment was of Justice M Fathima Beevi in 1989, 39 years after the setting up of the Supreme Court in 1950.

Justice Fathima Beevi was elevated to the apex court after her retirement as judge of the Kerala High Court. After serving the top court till April 29, 1992, she was later appointed as the Governor of Tamil Nadu.

The second woman judge in the Supreme Court was Justice Sujata V Manohar who started her career as a judge from the Bombay High Court and rose to become the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court. She was elevated to the apex court where she remained from November 8, 1994 till August 27, 1999.

Justice Ruma Pal followed Manohar after a gap of almost five months and became the longest-serving woman judge from January 28, 2000 to June 2, 2006.

After her retirement, it took four years to appoint the next woman judge. Justice Gyan Sudha Misra was elevated to the Supreme Court from Jharkhand High Court where she was the Chief Justice. Her tenure in the apex court was from April 30, 2010 to April 27, 2014.

During her stint, she was joined by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, who served the apex court between September 13, 2011 to October 29, 2014. These two judges also created a history by holding the court together as an all-women bench for a day in 2013.

Justice Banumathi, who at present is the only sitting woman judge, had joined on August 13, 2014 and would retire on July 19, 2020.

In the 67-year history of the Supreme Court, there have been only two occasions when it has had two sitting women judges together, the first being Justices Misra and Desai and later Justices Desai and Banumathi.

The Collegium is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and has four senior-most judges of the apex court — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

Source : PTI

Six lawyers to be appointed as Punjab and Haryana HC judges

Six lawyers to be appointed as Punjab and Haryana HC judges
Six lawyers to be appointed as Punjab and Haryana HC judges

The government is learnt to have cleared the names of six lawyers for elevation as judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The file has been cleared and is set to be sent to the President for his approval, sources said today.

In July last year, the Supreme Court collegium had cleared the names of seven advocates for elevation as judges, they said.

But the names of six of them have been cleared by the government, the sources said, adding one proposal has been put on hold.

Those cleared for appointment are understood to be Arvind Singh Sangwan, former additional advocate general Mahabir Singh Sindhu, former Haryana senior deputy advocate general Rajbir Sehrawat, senior advocate Anil Khetrapal, Sudhir Mittal and Avneesh Jhingan.

Two judges were appointed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week.

( Source – PTI )

SC collegium likely to meet soon on appointment of CJs

SC collegium likely to meet soon on appointment of CJs
SC collegium likely to meet soon on appointment of CJs

The Supreme Court collegium is likely to meet in the coming days to consider names for appointment of chief justices of high courts.

Sources said here today that the collegium — a body of top five judges of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India — could meet as soon as the court summer break is over in July to consider names to fill up vacancies of chief justices.

At present, the high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Delhi, Calcutta, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand have acting chief justices. But is is not yet clear whether the collegium will consider names for the all the five high courts or only some of them.

The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1,079 judges, but they are functioning with a truncated strength of 629 — a shortage of 450 judges.

The government is unlikely to increase the approved strength of high court judges but focus on filling vacancies.

Sources in the law ministry said the present strength of 1,079 is unlikely to be raised this year as the main focus would be to fill up vacancies in the 24 high courts.

Over three crore cases are pending in courts across India.

( Source – PTI )