NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Collegium has on November 6 recommended for elevation of Delhi, Rajasthan and Gauhati High Courts Chief Justices as judges of the top court, by observing that it is necessary to have full strength in view of ever mounting cases.
In its meeting, the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India and comprising four senior most judges approved for appointment of Delhi HC CJ Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, Rajasthan HC CJ Justice Augustine George Masih and Gauhati HC CJ Justice Sandeep Mehta as judges of the top court.
With sanctioned strength of 34 judges, the SC is at present working with 31 judges.
"The Supreme Court has a huge backlog of cases. In view of the ever mounting pendency of cases, the workload of judges has increased considerably. It has become necessary to ensure that the Court has full working judge-strength leaving no vacancy at any point of time," the Collegium said.
In selection of three names, the Collegium considered the seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges in their respective parent High Courts as well as overall seniority of the High Court Judges; the merit, performance and integrity of the judges under consideration; and the need to ensure diversity, among others.
"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 found the three persons to be deserving and suitable in all respects for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India," the Collegium said.
Of the three, Justice Sharma stood at serial number two in the combined all India seniority of High Court Judges. He was appointed as a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on January 18, 2008. He was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court for the State of Telangana on October 11, 2021 and thereafter transferred to High Court of Delhi on June 28, 2022.
Sharma has served as a judge of the High Court for more than 15 years and as Chief Justice of High
Court for more than two years. The judgments authored by him dealing with issues in various branches of law stand testimony to his legal acumen and competence. Before his elevation as a Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, he practised in constitutional, service, civil and criminal matters, it said.
Justice Masih, who belongs to minority community, stands at serial number seven in the combined all India seniority of High Court Judges. He was appointed as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 10, 2008 and elevated as Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court on May 30, 2023. During his long tenure as a judge of the High Court, Justice Masih has acquired significant experience in diverse fields of law. Before his elevation, he practised in Constitutional, service, labour, and civil matters.
Justice Mehta stood at serial number 23 in the combined all India seniority of High Court Judges. He was appointed as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court on May 30, 2011. Having attained seniority in his parent High Court, he was elevated as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court and is serving there since February 15, 2023.
The Rajasthan High Court which is Justice Mehta's parent High Court is a large High Court which does not have representation on the bench of the Supreme Court.Justice Mehta has served as a judge of the High Court for more than 12 years. During his long tenure as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court and as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, Justice Mehta has acquired significant adjudicatory experience. Before his elevation, he practised before trial courts, High Court and the Supreme Court, mainly in constitutional and criminal laws, the Collegium said.