In yet another unprecedented decision, a three-member Supreme Court Collegium – led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana – has recommended 68 names at once for elevation as judges to 12 High Courts, including in Allahabad, Rajasthan and Calcutta, who are facing a serious crack.
The 12 High Courts for which the recommendations have been made are: Allahabad, Rajasthan, Calcutta, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madras, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
In its meetings of 25 August and 1 September, the Collegium considered the names of 112 candidates – 82 from the Bar Association and 31 from the Judicial Service. Of the names cleared before 12 High Courts, 44 are from the Bar and 24 from the Judicial Service.
This round of recommendations witnessed another historic first.
A female bailiff of the Scheduled Tribe – Marli Vankung – has been recommended by the Collegium for appointment to the Gauhati High Court. She will be the very first High Court Judge from Mizoram.
In total, there are 10 women who have been recommended for elevation.
The Collegium has requested further details on 16 candidates whose names have been considered in the Collegium meetings.
These recommendations come close on the heels of the three-member Collegium that Chief Justice Judge Ramana, Judge UU Lalit and Judge AM Khanwilkar recommended seven names to the Telangana High Court on Aug. 17.
On the same day, a five-member Supreme Court college had recommended 9 names for elevation to the Supreme Court Bench.
The nine names received immediate government approval, leading to a landmark Chief Justice swearing in to nine new judges in one sitting this week. Justice BV Nagarathna, who is on the cusp of becoming India’s first female Chief Justice in a historic milestone, has also been sworn in.
This has brought the total strength of the Supreme Court bench to 33, leaving only one vacancy that arose after the August 17 meeting of the Collegium (referring to the vacancy caused by the retirement of Judge Navin Sinha on August 18).