Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, a judge of the Uttarakhand High Court, was on Thursday elevated as the new Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, the Law Ministry said. The Supreme Court collegium had recently recommended his name for the post.
With Justice Dhulia's appointment as chief justice of the Gauhati High Court, all the 25 high courts in the country now have regular chief justices. Till recently, some of the high courts were being headed by acting chief justices. Justice S Muralidhar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was recently elevated as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court. Delhi High Court's Justice Hima Kohli has been elevated as Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court. Justice Pankaj Mithal of the Allahabad High Court has been made the chief justice of the common high court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee, a judge of the Calcutta High Court, has been appointed as the new chief justice of the Madras High Court. Meanwhile, there are four vacancies in the Supreme Court and the Law Ministry is yet to receive recommendations from the collegium to fill up the slots.
The first vacancy in the apex court arose following the retirement of Justice Ranjan Gogoi in November 2019 as the Chief Justice of India. Subsequently, three more vacancies arose in the top court following the retirements of Justices Deepak Gupta, R Bhanumathi and Arun Mishra.
Against a sanctioned strength of 34, the Supreme Court is at present functioning with 30 judges. The government has maintained that appointment of judges in the high courts is a "continuous collaborative process" between the executive and the judiciary, as it requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities.