A day after the Supreme Court expressed displeasure over the delay in the appointment of judges, President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday approved the elevation of five judges to the Apex Court. With these appointments, the Supreme Court’s strength rises to 32 with only vacancies.
Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal; Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Manoj Misra will now become judges of the top court.
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju extended best wishes to these judges. “As per the provisions under the Constitution of India, Hon’ble President of India has appointed the following Chief Justices and Judges of the High Courts as Judges of the Supreme Court. I extend best wishes to all of them," Rijiju tweeted.
The following senior most Judges of the High Courts of Rajasthan, Patna and Manipur are appointed as Acting Chief Justices of the respective High Courts.I extend best wishes to all of them. pic.twitter.com/LJVbroWTSV— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 4, 2023
The judges are likely to take the oath and assume office on Monday.
The apex court Collegium headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud on December 13 last year recommended five judges for elevation to the apex court.
People privy to the development told CNN-News18 that the appointments have not been made under any pressure and the same took time due to the lengthy procedure of approvals and clearances that are pre-requisites when such an appointment is actually made.
The development comes a day after AG R Venkataramani informed the Supreme Court that the government was likely to issue the warrant of appointment of five judges recommended by the collegium by Sunday.
“It is happening. The five warrants of appointment are being issued. It goes to the President by evening. They will be issued,” AG R Venkataramani told the bench led by Justices SK Kaul and AS Oka.
A bench of Justices SK Kaul and AS Oka also expressed displeasure over the delay in clearing recommendations for the transfer of high court judges, calling it a “very serious issue”, and warned that any delay in this matter may result in both administrative and judicial actions which might not be palatable.
“Don’t make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable. You will make us take some very very difficult decisions, the bench said.
After the criticism from the top court, Rijiju said, “I saw a media report today that stated- Supreme Court has given a warning…The Indian Constitution is our guide. No one can give a warning to anyone."
#WATCH | I saw a media report today that stated- Supreme Court has given a warning…The Indian Constitution is our guide. No one can give a warning to anyone: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Prayagraj, UP pic.twitter.com/oyoDfzLzIS— ANI (@ANI) February 4, 2023
The Collegium system has become a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the Centre with the mechanism of judges appointing judges drawing criticism from different quarters.
The President also approved the appointment of 3 judges of the High Courts of Rajasthan, Patna and Manipur as the acting Chief Justices. While Justice Manindra Mohan Shrivastava will be the acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh will take over as acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court and Justice M V Muralidaran will take charge as the acting Chief Justice of High Court of Manipur.
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