Four new judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court, taking its strength to 34 -- the highest ever. The new judges are Justice Krishna Murari, Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, whose names were recommended recently by the Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The appointment from President Ram Nath Kovind came on Wednesday and the judges will take oath on Monday.
Justice V Ramasubramanian is the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Murari is the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice S Ravindra Bhatt is the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court and Justice Hrishikesh Roy is the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.
The government recently increased the strength of the judges from 31 to 34, which includes the Chief Justice of India in view of the huge backlog of cases. According to the Law Ministry, more than 11.5 lakh cases were pending in the top court in July.
Earlier this year, Chief Justice Gogoi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flagging the shortage. An adequate number of constitution benches cannot be formed to decide on key issues because of the shortage of judges he wrote.
The Collegium's recommendation was sent earlier this month -- days after a disagreement with the government over the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court. The government had returned his nomination, asking the collegium to reconsider.
Last year, the government had returned the recommendation to elevate Justice KM Joseph, who was the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, citing inadequate representation from other states.
An approval came only after the collegium sent the recommendation for a second time.