- Centre had asked top court panel to rethink elevation of 2 judges
- Collegium recommended Justices Aniruddha Bose, AS Bopanna to top court
- The panel today added 2 more names - Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant
The Supreme Court today rejected the government's objections to the elevation of two judges to the top court, stressing that merit should be considered above seniority. The Supreme Court collegium, or panel of five senior most judges, reiterated its April 12 decision to recommend Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna for the top court.
"Merit should be given predominant consideration," the collegium said, noting that "nothing adverse regarding competence, conduct or integrity of the judges had been pointed out" by the government.
Amid disagreement over the two names, the collegium today also recommended two more judges for the Supreme Court - Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant. Justice Gavai is a judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Kant is the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
The collegium includes Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice RF Nariman. Reports suggest that the government had cited seniority and regional representation to send back the names recommended by the judges' panel.
"We have carefully considered the observations made by the Department of Justice while referring back to the Collegium," the judges said.
Aniruddha Bose is the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court and AS Bopanna is Chief Justice, Gauhati High Court.
"The Collegium is of the view that, as laid down by the Supreme Court, though seniority amongst Judges in their High Courts and their combined seniority on all-India basis should be given due weightage, merit should be the predominant consideration," the judges said.
While recommending two new names, the Supreme Court said it had considered their seniority, competence, conduct and integrity.
With Justice BR Gavai's elevation, added the collegium, "the Supreme Court Bench will have a Judge belonging to Scheduled Caste category after about a decade."
The Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges but is working with 27.