FOR THE first time in the history of the Supreme Court, nine new judges, including three women, who had been appointed to the top court, took the oath of office on Tuesday. This was the most number of judges of the top court taking oath in one single day.
With the latest appointments, the working strength of the top court has risen to 33 judges, against the sanctioned strength of 34.
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana administered the oath of office to the new judges at an event held in the auditorium of the court’s new annexe building in the morning. Among those sworn in was former Karnataka High Court judge Justice B V Nagarathna, who is in line to become the first woman Chief Justice of India in 2027.
The oath-taking event was broadcast live, allowing public access to the ceremony which is usually held in Court Room 1 of the Chief Justice of India.
Marking another first, the top court will now have as many as four women judges. Besides the three sworn in Tuesday, the Supreme Court already has Justice Indira Banerjee.
Those sworn in on Tuesday are former Chief Justice of Telangana High Court Hima Kohli; former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice A S Oka; former Sikkim High Court Chief Justice J K Maheshwari; former Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath; Justice Nagarathna; former Gujarat High Court judge Justice Bela M Trivedi; former Kerala High Court judge Justice C T Ravikumar; former Madras High Court judge Justice M M Sundresh; and Senior Advocate P S Narasimha, who was directly elevated from the Bar.
Pressed with a shortage of judges, the Supreme Court Collegium headed by CJI Ramana had met on August 17 and approved all the names the same day. The Collegium also comprising Justices U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao also fulfilled the long-standing demand for increasing the representation of women judges in the court and recommended three names.
In a departure from the usual delays associated with the process of judicial appointments, the government cleared all the names recommended by the Collegium in a short span of time and forwarded them to the President for issuance of warrants of appointment.
Justice Narasimha is also in line to be the Chief Justice of India after Justice Nagarathna in 2027, which will make him only the third lawyer directly elevated to the top court to occupy the post. The first was Justice S M Sikri and the second Justice U U Lalit, who would succeed CJI Ramana next year.