Centre clears appointment of five Supreme Court judges

Appointment comes a day after strong observations by the Supreme Court but government sources say PMO approved the names on February 02

February 04, 2023 06:35 pm | Updated 11:17 pm IST - New Delhi

(Left to right) Justices Pankaj Mithal, Sanjay Karol and P.V. Sanjay Kumar. Photos: High Court sites

(Left to right) Justices Pankaj Mithal, Sanjay Karol and P.V. Sanjay Kumar. Photos: High Court sites

President Droupadi Murmu signed the warrants of appointment of five new judges to the Supreme Court on Saturday.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter to announce the appointments of Rajasthan High Court (HC) Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal; Patna HC Chief Justice Sanjay Karol; Manipur HC Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar; Patna HC judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah; and Allahabad HC judge, Justice Manoj Misra.

The new judges will be inducted after a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, at 10.30 a.m., in the Supreme Court.

“I extend best wishes to all of them,” the Law Minister tweeted.

These names were recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium on December 13 last year.

The appointments have come a day after a word of caution from a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul said that things would get “uncomfortable” if the government continues to delay judicial appointments and transfers. “If you keep them pending… you will make us take some very, very difficult decisions,” Justice Kaul had warned.

On Friday, Attorney General R. Venkataramani told the court that the five names were already cleared by the Centre and would be sent to the President for issuance of warrant of appointments the same evening.

Sources told The Hindu that the Prime Minister’s Office had approved the recommendations of the Collegium on February 2 and the appointments were already in their ‘final stages”. The Centre had taken a considered decision, which had nothing to do with the Bench’s observation, the official added.

Once the new judges are sworn in next week, the strength of the Supreme Court would go up to 32 from 27 and only two vacancies will remain. The top court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges.

After August 26, 2021, when 9 Supreme Court judges were appointed together, this is the second time when so many judges have been appointed in one single batch.

Justice Mithal was appointed Rajasthan CJ only on October 14, 2022. He was born on June 17, 1961. His parent High Court is Allahabad.

Justice Karol was appointed the CJ of the Patna HC on November 11, 2019. His parent HC is Himachal Pradesh. He was born on August 23, 1961.

Justice Kumar was appointed the CJ of Manipur HC on February 14, 2021. His parent HC is Telangana. He was born on August 14, 1963.

Justice Amanullah was appointed judge of his parent Patna HC on June 20, 2011. He was transferred to Andhra Pradesh HC in October last year. He was re-transferred back to Patna HC on June 20, 2022. He was born on May 11, 1963.

Justice Misra has been a Permanent Judge of the Allahabad HC since August 2013. He was born on June 2, 1965.

The apex court has an opportunity to function with its full strength if the government goes on to similarly clear two other names already proposed by the Supreme Court Collegium on January 31. These two names are Allahabad High Court’s Justice Rajesh Bindal and Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar.

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