The Supreme Court will soon get one more judge following the resignation of Justice Dalveer Bhandari, who is taking up his new assignment as a judge of the International Court of Justice.
Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Madan B. Lokur, who hails from Delhi, has been recommended by the collegium of judges headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, for elevation to the Supreme Court.
Law Ministry sources told The Hindu that the recommendation had been received from the Supreme Court and it would take three to four weeks for the completion of the appointment process. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, who also hails from Delhi, is expected to join the ICJ in the first week of June.
Justice Madan Lokur (58) was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in February 1999, as Permanent Judge in the same court in July 1999 and as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court on June 24, 2010. He became Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in November, 2011. He will have a tenure of over six-and-a-half years as Supreme Court judge.
The present strength of judges in the Supreme Court is 27 as against the sanctioned strength of 31.Though appointments to the Supreme Court are not made on the basis of seniority or on regional considerations, yet, as per convention, every State is represented by at least one judge at any point of time.
After the retirement of Justice Cyriac Joseph in January this year, there has been no representation for Christians. Similarly, after the retirement of the former Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan, there are no representations for scheduled castes.
At present the strength of judges in the Supreme Court is represented as follows: three judges each from the High Courts of Bombay, Delhi and Patna; two judges each from Rajasthan, Punjab, Madras and Orissa and one each from the 10 High Courts of Calcutta, Gauhati, Gujarat, Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand. Though the High Court of Punjab and Haryana is represented, there is no representation for the State of Haryana as such. The Allahabad High Court, one of the bigger ones, has only one representation.
Meanwhile, the Centre has requested the Chief Justice of India to spare the services of a sitting Supreme Court judge for chairmanship of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal following the resignation of Justice N.P. Singh last month on health grounds, after he had been in office for about 16 years.
Under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, only a sitting Supreme Court judge who is on the verge of retirement can be appointed to head the Tribunal. Justice Deepak Verma, who is due to retire in August this year, is the likely choice for this post. Justice Swatanter Kumar, who is retiring in December, is another contender.
The Tribunal was constituted on June 2, 1990, and by an interim award on June 25, 1991, directed Karnataka to release 205 tmcft each year to Tamil Nadu at Mettur.