Eight months after the last judicial appointments were made to the Supreme Court, five new judges were sworn in on Friday, taking the strength to 28.
The government notified the appointments of five judges on Wednesday, almost a week after the top court collegium headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar sent its recommendations.
Sources indicated that the collegium will meet soon to propose three more names to ensure the top court functions with full strength by next month. Chief justice KM Joseph of Uttarakhand high court and justice NP Vasanthakumar are in the zone of consideration.
Their names had figured in the list prepared last year by the collegiums, then headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur. However, they did not figure in the new list, prompting one of the collegium members, justice J Chelameswar, to write a note against the exclusion of justice Joseph. The Uttarakhand chief justice headed the bench that quashed President’s Rule in the hill state, embarrassing the NDA government at the Centre.
However, the latest appointments to the top court did not see any woman judge getting sworn. At present, there is only one sitting woman judge, justice R Bhanumathi, who was appointed on August 13, 2014. She is one of the rare trial court judges to have made it to the top court.
The elevation of five new judges puts at rest the unprecedented acrimony witnessed between the judiciary and executive. The earlier collegium headed by justice Thakur had failed to fill vacancies in the SC due to the confrontation that also delayed appointment of several judges to various HCs.