Nine new judges, including three women, would be administered the oath of office as judges of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana on Tuesday.
It is for the first time in the history of the apex court when nine judges would be taking the oath of office at one go and the swearing-in ceremony would be held in the auditorium of the Supreme Court’s additional building complex.
Traditionally, the oath of office to new judges is administered in the CJI’s courtroom. With the swearing-in of the nine new judges on Tuesday, the strength of the Supreme Court would rise to 33, including the CJI, out of the sanctioned strength of 34.
“This is for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court of India when nine judges will be taking the oath of office in one go. In another first, the venue of the ceremony is shifted to the auditorium. This is done keeping in view the need for strict adherence to COVID norms,” said a press release issued by the apex court’s public relations office.
It said the swearing-in ceremony would be telecast live on DD News, DD India and live webcast would also be available on the home page of official web portal of the Supreme Court.
The nine new judges who would be administered oath of office as apex court judges includes — Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (who was the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court), Justice Vikram Nath (who was the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court), Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (who was the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court), Justice Hima Kohli (who was the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court) and Justice B V Nagarathna (who was a judge of the Karnataka High Court).
Besides them, Justice C T Ravikumar (who was a judge of the Kerala High Court), Justice M M Sundresh (who was a judge of the Madras High Court), Justice Bela M Trivedi (who was a judge of the Gujarat High Court) and P S Narasimha (who was a senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General) would also be administered oath of office by the CJI.
Justice Nagarathna is in line to become the first woman CJI in September 2027. Justice Nagarathna, born on October 30, 1962, is the daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramiah. Three out of these nine new judges, Justices Nath and Nagarathna and Narasimha, are in line to become the CJI.
Justice Nath is in line to become the CJI upon retirement of sitting apex court judge Justice Surya Kant in February 2027.
Justice Nath would be succeeded by Justice Nagarathna, who would have a tenure of over a month as the head of the judiciary. Narasimha would succeed Justice Nagarathna as the CJI and would have a tenure of over six months. The apex court Collegium had on August 17 recommended these nine names for appointment as judges of the top court.
Later, President Ram Nath Kovind had signed the warrants of their appointment as apex court judges.
The top court, which came into being on January 26, 1950, has seen very few women judges since its inception and in the last over 71 years has appointed only eight lady judges starting from M Fathima Beevi in 1989.
Presently, Justice Indira Banerjee is the lone serving woman judge in the apex court after her elevation on August 7, 2018 from the Madras High Court where she was serving as the Chief Justice.
While high court judges retire at the age of 62, the retirement age of Supreme Court judges is 65.
The recommendation of these nine names by the five-member collegium headed by CJI Ramana at its meeting on August 17 had put an end to the 21-month-long logjam over the appointment of new judges to the top court.
The impasse over the appointment had led to a situation in which not a single name for the judgeship in the apex court could be recommended after the superannuation of then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on November 17, 2019.