SC gets 9 new judges, Justice Nagarathna could be first woman CJI in 2027

Other new judges appointed to the top court included senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, a ninth direct appointee from the Bar
Last Updated : 26 August 2021, 14:51 IST

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Nine new judges were appointed to the Supreme Court on Thursday, setting out a succession plan for three new Chief Justices of India, including a first woman judge to occupy the coveted post.

With the Law Ministry issuing notifications on President signing warrants on their appointments, the country is likely to see the first woman Chief Justice of India in Justice BV Nagarathna, currently a judge of the Karnataka High Court, in 2027 for a brief period of one month. She is the daughter of former Chief Justice of India ES Venkataramiah, who occupied the coveted post in 1989.

This would be the second instance of two generations of a family heading the judiciary as Justice DY Chandrachud is in the line to become the CJI in November 2022 while his father, YV Chandrachud, was the CJI between 1978 and 1985.

Other new judges appointed to the top court included senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, a ninth direct appointee from the Bar.

He is likely to succeed Justice Nagarathna as the CJI over one year in October 2027. Narasimha would be the third person to hold the post of CJI after having been directly elevated from the Bar. Other judges from the Bar, Justice SM Sikri remained the CJI in the 1970s and Justice UU Lalit would hold the post between August 27, 2022, and November 8, 2022.

Among new appointments, Gujarat High Court chief justice Vikram Nath, originally from Allahabad High Court, would also occupy the post of the CJI, taking the helm before Justice Nagarathna and would be in the chair for almost seven months between February and September 2027.

Besides Justice Nagarathna, Telangana HC chief justice Hima Kohli and Gujarat High Court judge, Justice Bela Trivedi of the Gujarat High Court are the other two woman judges appointed to the top court.

Other judges who were elevated to the Supreme Court are Karnataka High Court chief justice Abhay Kumar Oka, and Sikkim High Court chief justice JK Maheshwari.

Justice CT Ravikumar, the second senior-most judge of the Kerala High Court, and Justice MM Sundaresh, the third senior-most judge of the Madras High Court, were also elevated to the Supreme Court.

This is the largest number of judges appointed in the Supreme Court at once.

The new appointments come after a hiatus of 21-month as consensus eluded Collegium, comprising five senior-most judges, in view of insistence by Justice RF Nariman (retired on August 12) for the elevation of Tripura High Court's chief justice Akil Kureshi, who sent current Home Minister Amit Shah to CBI custody in 2010 as a Gujarat High Court judge.

The Supreme Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, currently has only one woman judge, Justice Indira Banerjee, who is set to retire in September 2022.

With the nine new appointments, the top could have a vacancy on just one post.

The latest appointment of three women judges at one go can be seen as an important step in bridging the gender gap in the Supreme Court which has accommodated only eight women judges in the last 71 years.

Published 26 August 2021, 09:20 IST

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