New Delhi: The government is learnt have cleared the elevation of four new judges to the Supreme Court, paving the way for their swearing-in in “a day or two.”
After the new judges take charge, the apex court will have its full strength of 31 judges after a gap of five years. Currently, the court is functioning with 27 judges, including Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The four judges whose elevation has been cleared are: Justices Aniruddha Bose, A.S. Bopanna, B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant.
The government had earlier objected to two names: Justices Bose and Bopanna. It had informed the Supreme Court Collegium, citing seniority and representation of regions as the key issues. The five-member collegium is headed by the CJI.
In Justice Gavai, the top court would have second Chief Justice from Dalit community.
Sources said a notification on the elevation of the judges is expected as early as tomorrow after the President endorses their appointment.
The Supreme Court Collegium had rejected the Centre’s comeback and recommended Justices Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Surya Kant for elevation as the top court judges.
“The collegium resolves to reiterate the afore-mentioned recommendation dated April 12, 2019, especially since nothing adverse regarding competence, conduct or integrity of Justices (1) Aniruddha Bose, and (2) A.S. Bopanna, has been pointed out,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.
Justice Bose stands at number 12 in the combined seniority list of all-India high court judges, while Justice Bopanna stands at number 36.
On April 12, both judges were recommended by the Collegium for elevation to the Supreme Court after considering factors such as merit, seniority, as well as regional representation on the Supreme Court bench.
The collegium, rejecting the Centre’s plea, said that it was aware of the parameters while recommending the two judges. Following the procedure of seniority among judges in their respective high courts and then looking into the combined seniority on an all-India basis, it reiterated its proposal to elevate the two judges.
Currently, Justice Gavai is a judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Kant is the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
According to the Collegium recommendation published on the website, the five-member collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi met on Wednesday.