This Article is From Feb 04, 2023

Centre Clears 5 New Supreme Court Judges After "Very Serious" Warning

The five names were cleared after a fresh nudge a day ago from the Supreme Court, which warned the top government lawyer of "very uncomfortable" actions.

The centre faced tough questions from the top court on the subject a day ago.

New Delhi:

The names of five judges for the Supreme Court were cleared by the centre on Saturday, nearly two months after they were recommended, amid a protracted tussle between the executive and the judiciary over the process of appointments.

Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Allahabad High Court judge Manoj Misra will now be Supreme Court judges.

The judges will take oath of office on Monday.

Facing tough questions from the top court, the centre had promised a day ago that the pending recommendations of the panel of judges known as the collegium for the elevation of five high court justices will be cleared by Sunday.

Justices SK Kaul and AS Oka had expressed displeasure over the delay in clearing recommendations for the transfer of high court judges, calling it a "very serious issue", and warned that any delay in this matter may result in both administrative and judicial actions which might be "very uncomfortable".

Asked about the status of the Supreme Court collegium's recommendations for the top court during a hearing on two petitions, Attorney General R Venkataramani said the warrant for appointment of five judges is expected to be issued in two days.

In strong comments referring to the delay in approving the transfers of high court judges, the top court had said, "Don't make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable... You will make us take some very, very difficult decisions."

The collegium system has become a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the centre, with the mechanism of judges appointing judges fuelling an intense debate that, in a departure from tradition, has seen sharp comments by Law Minister Kiren Rijiju.

The collegium headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud on December 13 last year had recommended the five judges for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Later, on January 31, the collegium recommended the names of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar for elevation as Supreme Court judges as well.

While recommending the two names earlier this week, the Collegium had said, "The names recommended earlier by the collegium by its resolution dated December 13, 2022, shall have precedence over the two names recommended presently for appointment to the Supreme Court."

The top court, which has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges including the Chief Justice, is functioning with 27 judges presently.