In yet another unprecedented decision, a three-member Supreme Court Collegium – headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana – has recommended 68 names in one go for elevation as judges to 12 High Courts, including in Allahabad, Rajasthan and Calcutta, that are facing a severe crunch.
The 12 High Courts for which the recommendations have been made are: Allahabad, Rajasthan, Calcutta, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madras, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
In the meetings held on August 25 and September 1, the Collegium considered the names of 112 candidates – 82 from the Bar and 31 from the Judicial Service. Among the names cleared for 12 High Courts, 44 are from the Bar and 24 are from the Judicial Service.
This round of recommendations witnessed yet another historic first.
A female judicial officer belonging to Scheduled Tribe – Marli Vankung – has been recommended by the Collegium for elevation to the Gauhati High Court. She will be the first-ever High Court Judge from Mizoram.
In all, there are 10 women who have been recommended for elevation.
The Collegium sought further details about 16 candidates whose names were considered in the meetings of the Collegium.
These recommendations come close on the heels of the three-member Collegium that has Chief Justice Justice Ramana, Justice U U Lalit and Justice A M Khanwilkar recommending seven names for Telangana High Court August 17.
On the same day, a five-member collegium of Supreme Court had recommended 9 names for elevation to the Bench of Supreme Court.
The nine names received instantaneous approval of government leading to a historic administration of oath by the Chief Justice to nine new judges in one go this week. Justice BV Nagarathna, who is in line to become the first woman Chief Justice of India in a historic milestone, also took oath.
This has taken the total strength of the Supreme Court bench to 33 leaving it with only one vacancy that arose after the August 17 meeting of the Collegium (the vacancy caused by Justice Navin Sinha’s retirement on August 18).