Within days of successfully getting nine new judges appointed to the Supreme Court in one go, the apex court Collegium led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana has, in yet another first, recommended 68 names in one stroke for elevation as judges of various High Courts.
The Collegium, in meetings on August 5 and September 1, considered 112 candidates for High Court appointments. Sixty eight of 112 names have been recommended for appointments to 12 High Courts. Of the 68, there are 44 from the Bar and 24 from the Judicial Service.
Scripting history in gender representation in the judiciary yet again, the Collegium recommended a woman judicial officer belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, Ms. Marli Vankung, as judge of the Gauhati High Court. If the government approves the recommendation, she would be the first ever High Court judge from the State of Mizoram.
Even otherwise, the Collegium’s recommended names have 10 women.
Meanwhile, the Collegium has sought further details about 16 candidates whose names were considered in its meetings.
The 12 High Courts for which the names have been recommended are Allahabad, Rajasthan, Calcutta, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madras, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
These recommendations come close on the heels of the three-member Collegium consisting of Chief Justice Ramana, Justices U.U. Lalit and A.M. Khanwilkar recommending seven names for the Telangana High Court on August 17.
August 17 was also the day on which the five-member Collegium had recommended nine names for elevation to the Bench of the Supreme Court. Their appointment by the government soon after the recommendation by the Collegium has seen the Supreme Court’s judicial strength rising to 33, just one short of its full capacity.
The nine names had received instantaneous approval from the government, leading to their taking oath on August 31.
The quickening of the pace of judicial appointments process both in the Supreme Court and the High Courts by the Chief Justice Ramana-led Collegium sends a strong message that the judiciary is determined to resolve the problem of vacancies with utmost priority.