SC Collegium recommends AP Chief Justice, senior advocate Vishwanathan as apex court judges

If cleared, Mr. Vishwanathan will be in line to be Chief Justice of India from August 2030 to May 2031

Updated - May 16, 2023 06:42 pm IST

Published - May 16, 2023 06:02 pm IST - New Delhi

Supreme Court collegium, on May 16, elevated Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra.

Supreme Court collegium, on May 16, elevated Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra.

The Supreme Court Collegium on May 16 recommended senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan to be appointed as judge of the apex court, highlighting his vast experience and profound knowledge in law as a “significant value addition” to the court.

The five-member collegium also proposed to the government the appointment of Andhra Pradesh Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra as a Supreme Court judge.

Mr. Vishwanathan would be in line to be the 58th Chief Justice of India in August 2030, succeeding Justice JB Pardiwala as top judge, if his name is cleared by the government. He would also be only the ninth lawyer to be elevated directly to the Supreme Court Bench.

“On the retirement of Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala on August 11, 2030, Shri Viswanathan would be in line to assume office as the Chief Justice of India till his retirement on May 25, 2031,” the collegium resolution stated.

The collegium said its decision to recommend a name from the Bar was taken after considering the fact that there was presently only one judge, Justice PS Narasimha, on the apex court Bench.

“The appointment of Shri KV Viswanathan will enhance the representation to the Bar in the composition of the Supreme Court. Shri Viswanathan is a distinguished member of the Bar of the Supreme Court,” the collegium noted.

Born on May 26, 1966, Mr. Vishwanathan completed the five-year integrated law degree from Coimbatore Law College, Bharathiyar University, and enrolled with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1988. He was designated as a senior advocate in 2009 after practising before the Supreme Court for over two decades. He has appeared in a wide range of cases on diverse subjects including constitutional, criminal, commercial, insolvency and arbitration laws.

He has been the apex court’s amicus curiae in numerous cases.

The collegium said it zeroed in on Justice Mishra after carefully evaluating the merit, integrity and competence of eligible Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of the High Courts and also accommodating a plurality of considerations.

Justice Mishra’s parent High Court is Chhattisgarh. The collegium noted that there is no representation of the State among the current Supreme Court judges.

Justice Mishra is ranked 21 in the All-India High Court judges list. The collegium said that though Allahabad Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker also comes from Chhattisgarh high Court and is senior to Justice Mishra, it found the latter “worthy” of appointment to the apex court. Justice Mishra was appointed as a judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court on December 10, 2009. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on October 13, 2021.

The two recommendations precede a series of retirements in 2023. Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, both members of the present collegium, retire in June along with Justice V. Ramasubramanian in June during the summer holidays. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat retires in October. Justice SK Kaul, the judge number two of the Supreme Court, retires in December this year.

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