M A I N   N E W S

Bedi made SC judge
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 8
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has signed the orders for the appointment of three Supreme Court judges as suggested by the Collegium, including the elevation of the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Mr Justice H.S. Bedi.

The presidential order has elevated Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Mr Justices V S Sirpurkar and Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court Mr Justices B Sudershan Reddy.

The Collegium, headed by the outgoing CJI Y K Sabharwal recommended the names of these three judges to be elevated to the apex court. Mr Justice Sabharwal relinquishes his office on January 14.

Sources said the government is likely to issue the formal notification of the appointment of the three judges to the Supreme Court tomorrow.

They also indicated that the three judges are expected to formally take over after swearing in by the Chief Justice of India on Friday.

Mr Justice Bedi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier been elevated to Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.

With the retirement of Sabharwal, the apex court would still have two vacancies.

Though the sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court is 26, it has been functioning with a reduced number of 22 judges. Ms Justice Ruma Pal was the last to retire on June 2, 2006. Despite the appointment of three new judges during 2006 all the vacancies could not be filled because as many as five judges had retired in 2005.

Justice Sabharwal had attributed procedural delay in appointment as a reason for judges’ posts remaining vacant for a longer duration even in the Supreme Court after the retirement of a judge and emphasised several times during the hearing on PILs on the issue and from public forum that the Government should initiate appointment process at least six months in advance to ensure that when a judge retires the post is filled forthwith.

Since Chief Justice of India designate Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan will have considerably a longer stint of three years and four months as CJI as compared to his recent three predecessors who remained in the office for little over a year each, he will be in a better position to take corrective steps on appointment process by keeping in view any vacancy occurring in future. The judges’ posts in the Apex Court will fall vacant with regular intervals as apart from the four retiring in 2007, six will relinquish their offices in 2008.



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