Collegium clears elevation of High Court CJs, warrant of appointment soon

The Supreme Court will soon get three more judges with its collegium clearing the elevation of three Chief Justices of High Courts: M.Y. Eqbal (Madras), Vikramajit Sen (Karnataka) and V. Gopalagowda (Orissa).

Justice Eqbal (61), who hails from Jharkhand, will have a tenure of a little over three and half years; Justice Sen (62), who hails from Delhi, three years and Justice Gowda (61), who hails from Karnataka, a little over four years.

Law Ministry sources told The Hindu that the recommendations received on Wednesday would be processed and the warrant of appointments notified within a fortnight.

Besides Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, who heads the collegium, the Muslim judges in the Supreme Court are Justices Aftab Alam and Ibrahim Kalifulla. Once Justice Eqbal joins the Bench, the highest court of the land will, for the first time, have such a large representation for the community.

After the retirement of Justice Cyriac Joseph in January this year, there was no representation for Christians and Justice Sen will fill this vacancy. Similarly after the retirement of the former CJI, Justice K .G. Balakrishnan, there is no representation for the Scheduled Castes and this slot is yet to be filled.

At present, the Supreme Court has three judges each from the Delhi and Patna High Courts; two each from the Bombay, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Madras and Orissa High Courts and one each from the Calcutta, Gauhati, Gujarat, Allahabad, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand High Courts. Though the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been represented, there is no representation for the State of Haryana as such and a bigger High Court like Allahabad has only one representation.

With the elevation of three judges, the strength of the Supreme Court will go up to 28 as against the sanctioned number of 31. Appointments are not made on the basis of seniority or regional considerations, yet, as per convention, every State is represented by at least one judge at any point of time in the Supreme Court.


Leaving with a sense of satisfaction: EqbalDecember 22, 2012

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