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The South Asian Insider

Collegium picks 2 names for elevation as SC judges

(News Agency)- The Supreme Court collegium on Wednesday recommended the elevation of two high court chief justices, Ujjal Bhuyan and SV Bhatti, as judges of the apex court. Justice Bhuyan is presently serving as the chief justice of the Telangana high court whereas justice Bhatti is the chief justice of the Kerala high court. In a resolution published on Wednesday evening, the collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, zeroed in on the two names to be recommended to the Union government for notifying their appointment as judges in the top court. Apart from the CJI, the collegium in the Supreme Court currently includes justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant."After carefully evaluating the merit, integrity and competence of eligible chief justices and senior puisne Judges of the high courts and also accommodating a plurality of considerations, the collegium finds them to be deserving and suitable in all respects for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court of India," stated the resolution.
The Supreme Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, is currently short of three judges. With justice Krishna Murari set to retire on July 8, the vacancy will rise to four by the end of the week. Those in the know of the matter told HT that the collegium also deliberated upon the two more names other than justices Bhuyan and Bhatti.Justice Bhuyan's parent high court is Gauhati while justice Bhatti is from Andhra Pradesh HC. "During his long tenure as a judge of the high court, Mr Justice Bhuyan has acquired significant experience in diverse fields of law. He has acquired specialisation and domain knowledge in the law of taxation," said the resolution on Wednesday.About justice Bhatti, the collegium said that apart from according representation to the state of Andhra Pradesh, his appointment will provide a value addition in terms of his acquired knowledge and experience.
In making the recommendations of names to the Union government, the collegium is supposed to take into account a variety of factors, including all-India seniority of judges, merit and integrity, representation of high courts, regional representation, and diversity.
The plurality of factors, as stated by a collegium resolution on March 31, added that the judges' selection body in the apex court also considers appointing persons from marginalised and backward segments of society and focuses on gender diversity and representation of minorities.
Under the memorandum of procedure (MoP) that guides the judicial appointments, the government can only object once if it does not agree with the collegium's recommendations but is bound by the decision after the names are reiterated.
The MoP, is, however, silent on the time that the government can take in processing an appointment.
Apart from the judges for the Supreme Court, the collegium also made recommendations for the appointments of chief justices in the high courts of Bombay, Gujarat, Manipur and Andhra Pradesh. Prospective recommendations have also been made for the future vacancies of chief justices in the high courts of Odisha, Telangana and Kerala.
While Odisha high court chief justice S Muralidhar is set to demit office on August 7, chiefs' posts in Kerala and Telangana will be vacant after the elevation of justices Bhuyan and Bhatti to the apex court.
Among the recommendations for the high court chief justices, Allahabad high court judges Sunita Agarwal and Devendra Kumar Upadhyay have been recommended to head high courts of Gujarat and Bombay respectively.
Delhi high court judge Siddharth Mridul has been proposed to be sent as the chief justice of the Manipur high court whereas Bombay high court judge DS Thakur has been recommended as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh high court. Justice Thakur was earlier recommended for the Manipur high cour but that proposal now stands withdrawn.