- Supreme Court collegium overrules centre's objections to two judges
- Centre had cited concerns over seniority, sources said earlier this month
- Top court to reach full strength of 31, first time in five years
Four new judges are likely to be sworn in as Supreme Court justices soon, taking the total to the court's full strength of 31 for the first time in five years. Justices Aniruddha Bose, AS Bopanna, Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Surya Kant have been elevated to the top court.
The move comes after the Supreme Court collegium overruled the centre's objections to Justice Aniruddha Bose of Jharkhand High Court and Justice AS Bopanna of the Gauhati High Court.
The collegium's recommendation for the two judges was returned by the centre, which has cited concerns over seniority, sources said earlier this month.
The collegium had sent in its recommendation on April 12, just as the mammoth seven-phase national elections started.
Last year, the government had locked horns with the judiciary, refusing to clear the name of Justice KM Joseph for elevation to the top court. But the government was forced to accept his elevation when the collegium reasserted its choice and Justice Joseph took oath in August last year.
According to a resolution signed by top Supreme Court judges, the collegium had decided to elevate Justices Bose and Bopanna on the basis of merit, seniority and representation to high courts.
"While recommending these names, the collegium has taken into consideration, apart from their merit and integrity, the combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior judges of high courts. The collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the high courts," it read.
The five-member collegium, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, later also recommended the names of justices B R Gavai, a judge of the Bombay High Court, and Surya Kant, the incumbent Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, for elevation to the top court.
Justice Gavai, in line to be named Chief Justice in 2025, will be the third Dalit judge of the Supreme Court and the India's second Chief Justice from the community after Justice KG Balakrishnan.