Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 18
Ending a two-year-long deadlock, the Supreme Court Collegium has recommended nine names, including three woman high court judges for elevation to the top court.
The recommendations of the five-member Collegium headed by CJI NV Ramana, if accepted, are likely to give the country its first woman CJI -- Justice BV Nagarathna of the Karnataka High Court, sources said.
Two other women HC judges recommended for elevation are Telangana High Court Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Bela Trivedi of the Gujarat High Court, they added.
Senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha has also been recommended for elevation from the Bar to the Bench, they said.
The other names are Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath, Sikkim High Court Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Kerala High Court judge CT Ravi Kumar and Madras High Court judge MM Sundersh, they said.
Besides, Justice Nagarathna, Justice Vikram Nath and senior advocate Narasimha will also go on to become CJI.
As the news about the Collegium's decision became public, the CJI took strong exception to a section of media reporting about it even before the selection process was finalised.
"Media must respect the sanctity of the selection process," the CJI said.
The decision comes days after the August 12 retirement of Justice RF Nariman who was said to have insisted on elevation of Tripura High Court Chief Justice Akil Kureshi before any other name was considered.
Due to the stalemate, the Collegium had failed to recommend any names for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court after August 28, 2019 when it made the last recommendations.
The Supreme Court - which has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, including the CJI, has been functioning with only 24 judges. With the retirement of Justice Navin Sinha on Wednesday, the actual strength of the top court would come down to 23 judges.
If the recommendations are processed by the government and the appointments are made the top court's strength would go up to 33, one short of its total sanctioned strength.
Justice UU Lalit, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice LN Rao are the other judges who are part of the Collegium led by CJI Ramana.
As 69,476 cases remained pending in the top court, the Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh had demanded that India should go back to the old system of judicial appointment.
"The way the Collegium system is functioning, it’s better that we revert to the old system as neither there is transparency nor are they able to decide names for elevation. A large number of vacancies in the Supreme Court and high courts don’t inspire confidence in the Collegium system," Singh had told The Tribune recently.
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