The President on Wednesday appointed Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Krishna Murari, Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Ravindra Bhat, Himachal Pradesh High Court Chief Justice V Ramasubramanian and Kerala High Court Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy as judges of the Supreme Court.
The new appointments take the apex court to its full strength of 34 judges. The sanctioned strength was increased from 30 to 33, besides the Chief Justice of India, through the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act approved by the President on August 5. The four judges are expected to be sworn in by next week by CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended names of the four judges on August 28. It had said in its recommendation that it has considered “combined seniority on the all-India basis of chief justices and senior puisne judges of high courts, apart from their competence, conduct and integrity”.
Justice Krishna Murari, who stands fifth in the list of all-India seniority of high court judges, was appointed a judge of Allahabad High Court in 2004 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court in June 2018. With his elevation to the apex court, Allahabad High Court will be represented by three judges.
Justice Ravindra Bhat, who stands at 12th in the all-India seniority list, was appointed a judge of Delhi High Court in 2004 and elevated as Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court in May 2018. With his elevation to the apex court, Delhi High Court will also be represented by three judges, including Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sanjeev Khanna. The Collegium recommended Bhat despite reservations by Justice Kaul, who was consulted as he hails from the same parent high court. Justice Kaul had said Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal and Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Pradeep Nandrajog who are 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the seniority list of the Delhi High Court were overlooked.
Justice Ramasubramanian, who stands at 42nd in the all-India seniority list, was appointed a judge of Madras High Court in 2006 and elevated as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court in June. Justice R Banumathi, the only other judge from Madras High Court, had objected to Ramasubramanian’s elevation on the grounds that seniority was overlooked.
Justice Roy, who stands at 46th in the all-India seniority list, was appointed a judge of Gauhati High Court in 2006 and elevated as Chief Justice of Kerala High Court in August 2018. When CJI Gogoi, whose parent high court is also Gauhati, retires in November.