Nine new Supreme Court judges take oath

It is the first time as many as nine judges were sworn in to the Supreme Court in a single stroke.

August 31, 2021 11:37 am | Updated 09:49 pm IST - New Delhi:

Justice B.V. Nagarathna takes oath as a Supreme Court judge at the new annexe complex in the Supreme Court premises in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Justice B.V. Nagarathna takes oath as a Supreme Court judge at the new annexe complex in the Supreme Court premises in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Tuesday read out the oath of allegiance to the Constitution to nine new judges of the Supreme Court, reducing the vacancies in the top court to just one.

The occasion was historic on several fronts. It was the first time as many as nine judges were sworn in to the Supreme Court in a single stroke. Three of them were women judges. One of them, Justice B.V. Nagarathna , is slated to be Chief Justice of India in 2027. Again, it was the first time the Supreme Court allowed a live telecast of the ceremony. Usually, cameras are not allowed in to cover the swearing-in of judges to the Supreme Court as the event is held in the Chief Justice of India’s courtroom. This time, it was held in an auditorium at the court’s new annexe complex.

The number of women judges in the Supreme Court has gone up to four from one, Justice Indira Banerjee. This is the highest number of women judges ever in the Supreme Court.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of the nine new Supreme Court judges:

Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka took oath as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court on May 10, 2019. He was born on May 25, 1960. He graduated in science and completed his post-graduation in law from the University of Bombay. He began practice in the Thane District Court with his father, Shreeniwas W. Oka. He mostly focussed on public interest litigations. He was elevated to the Bench of the Bombay High Court on August 29, 2003. As Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Justice Oka led the Bench which passed a slew of directions to improve and monitor COVID-19 management in the State. The Bench was instrumental in providing food, transport and shelter to migrants during the pandemic.

Justice Vikram Nath took oath as the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court on September 10, 2019. He was born on September 24, 1962. He started legal practice in March 30, 1987. He practised at the Allahabad High Court. He was elevated to the Allahabad High Court Bench on September 24, 2004. Justice Nath took the initiative for starting livestreaming of court proceedings in the Gujarat High Court. It was Justice Nath’s Bench which held that the penal provisions of Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 will not apply against couples who enter into inter-religious marriages of their own free will. He has championed personal liberty in preventive detention cases. Justice Nath has highlighted the need for transparency in COVID-19 data. He is in line to be Chief Justice of India.

Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari was Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court and Sikkim High Court before his appointment to the Supreme Court. He was born on June 29, 1961. An Arts graduate, he completed his post-graduation in law from Jiwaji University in Gwalior. He has pursued a doctorate in the topic of medical malpractice in Madhya Pradesh. He was enrolled as an advocate on November 22, 1985. He specialised in civil, constitutional, criminal, service tax cases. He was elevated to the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2005.

Nine new judges of the Supreme Court were sworn in by the CJI N.V. Ramana on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Nine new judges of the Supreme Court were sworn in by the CJI N.V. Ramana on Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Justice Hima Kohli was Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. Justice Kohli was sworn in as Supreme Court judge just two days before she was due to retire. Justice Kohli was elevated to the Delhi High Court Bench in 2006. Born on September 2, 1959 in Delhi, Justice Kohli graduated in History (Hons.) from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi. She is a product of the Law Faculty, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. She was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1984. Justice Kohli, as Chief Justice in Telangana, played a vital role in ensuring that people were not denied medical treatment during the pandemic. She lashed out at the State for stopping the entry of COVID-19 patients from neighbouring States.

Justice B.V. Nagarathna was judge, Karnataka High Court, before her appointment as Supreme Court judge. Justice Nagarathna was born on October 30, 1962 to Justice E.S. Venkataramiah (a former Chief Justice of India) and Padma Venkataramiah. She graduated from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University, and completed her Law from Campus Law Center, New Delhi. Justice Nagarathna started practice in 1987 in KESVY and Co. under her seniors Barrister Vasudev Reddy and Senior Advocate G.V. Shantharaju. KESVY and Co. has the distinction of being the chamber of Justice E.S. Venkataramiah and Justice Rajendra Babu both of whom retired as Chief Justices of India. She started her independent chamber in 1994 till her elevation as a judge in 2008. She has practised in a wide variety of areas such as arbitration; land acquisition; service law; family law; administrative law; constitutional law; commercial law etc., in Supreme Court, various High Courts, and trial courts. Justice Nagarathna was part of the COVID-19 Bench headed by Justice Oka. She is a vocal champion of women’s rights. She is slated to be the first woman Chief Justice of India in 2027.

Justice C.T. Ravikumar was a judge in the Kerala High Court before his elevation as Supreme Court judge. Justice Ravikumar’s journey to the top court has humble origins. His father was a Bench clerk in a Magistrate court. Justice Ravikumar obtained his Law degree from the Government Law College, Kozhikode in Kerala. He believes there are no shortcuts in the legal profession. Justice Ravikumar was elevated to the Kerala High Court Bench in 2009. Justice Ravikumar famously said “law is long but life is short” in the context of the need for speedy justice while splitting the trial in the SNC Lavalin case.

Justice M.M. Sundresh was a judge of the Madras High Court before his elevation to the Supreme Court. Justice Sundresh was born on July 21, 1962 in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. A graduate of Loyola College in Chennai, he completed his Law at Madras Law College. As a government advocate between 1991 to 1996, he was known for his precise presentation of cases on facts and law. He was appointed as judge of the Madras High Court in 2009. In his farewell speech, Justice Sundresh spoke on the importance of treating everyone equally with dignity and respect, from the Chief Justice to the employee at the very bottom of the ladder, saying all were part of the judicial system.

Justice Bela M. Trivedi i s the first woman judge from Gujarat High Court to be elevated to the Supreme Court. Born in June 1960, Justice Trivedi is only one among the nine new judges who has worked as a Civil and Sessions Judge in the subordinate judiciary. Before her, another woman judge of the Supreme Court, Justice (now retired) R. Banumathi had the same trial judge experience and went on to confirm the death penalty to the Nirbhaya convicts. Justice Trivedi was elevated to the Bench of the Gujarat High Court in 2011. She was Additional Judge in both Gujarat and Rajasthan High Courts. She had also served as Law Secretary to the Gujarat government. As High Court judge, Justice Trivedi had slammed the Gujarat government recently for taking cover behind the facade that implementation of COVID-19 measures was tougher in a democracy.

Justice P.S. Narasimha was a senior advocate before his appointment as judge of the Supreme Court. He is the ninth lawyer to be directly appointed from the Supreme Court Bar. Justice Narasimha was Additional Solicitor General of India. He was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court to resolve the long-pending disputes concerning the functioning of the BCCI. He had appeared in the Ayodhya title dispute. He had argued in the ‘Jallikattu’ ban case and Mullaperiyar dam row between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He appeared before the Supreme Court on the question of validity of criminal defamation, presented arguments in the National Judicial Appointments Commission matter and the Italian Marines case, among others.

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