The Supreme Court may soon have a woman judge after a gap of almost four years.
The panel of five seniormost judges in the country (the Supreme Court collegium) is understood to have recommended the name of Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. Once elevated, she will become the fourth woman judge in the history of the Supreme Court.
Justice Fathima Beevi was the first woman judge of the apex court in 1989. She was followed by Justice Sujata V Manohar.
The third woman judge was Justice Ruma Pal, who was appointed during the Supreme Court’s golden jubilee year in 2000.
She retired on June 3, 2006, and since then there has been demands from various quarters, including President Pratibha Patil, to have woman judges in the apex court.
The collegium is also learnt to have cleared the name of Madras High Court Chief Justice H L Gokhale for the Supreme Court. If the government accepts both the names, the number of judges in the Supreme Court will go up to 29 against the sanctioned strength of 31.
Justice Misra was not considered for promotion in December last year. Bombay High Court Chief Justice Justice Swatanter Kumar and Allahabad High Court Chief Justice C K Prasad were then considered for promotion.
She seemed to have protested, following which President Patil had returned the recommendation of Justice Prasad, raising the question of seniority. Later, in January, Justice Prasad’s name was finally cleared.