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

New Delhi,:   Nine new judges, including three women, were on Thursday appointed to the Supreme Court, making Justice B V Nagarathna in line to be the first woman Chief Justice of India (CJI) in September 2027.

President Ram Nath Kovind signed their warrants of appointment.

With a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, the Supreme Court as of now has ten vacancies. Once the new judges take oath in the coming days, the top court will have only one vacancy.

Formal notifications by the Law Ministry announcing their appointments would be issued shortly, sources said.

In a first, the Supreme Court Collegium had last week recommended for appointment to the apex court three women judges. Besides Justice Nagarathna, the third senior-most judge of the Karnataka High Court, the other women judges who have been appointed to the apex court are Justice Hima Kohli, the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court, and Justice Bela M Trivedi, the fifth senior-most judge of the Gujarat High Court.

Justice Kohli was to retire on September 1 on attaining the age of 62.

While high court judges retire at the age of 62, the retirement age of Supreme Court judges is 65.

Besides them, Justice C T Ravikumar of the Kerala High Court, and Justice M M Sundresh of the Madras High Court have also been appointed to the top court.

Senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha has became the sixth lawyer to be elevated to the apex court bench directly from the Bar.

The chief justices of different high courts who have made it to the Supreme Court are Justices Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court), Vikram Nath (Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court), Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court).

Justice Nagarathna, born on October 30, 1962, is the daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramiah.

She enrolled as an advocate on October 28,1987 at Bangalore and practised in the fields pertaining to the Constitution, commerce, insurance and service.

She was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Karnataka on February 18, 2008 and became a permanent Judge on February 17, 2010.

She will have a tenure as an SC judge till October 29, 2027 and may have a tenure of over one month as the first woman CJI after September 23, 2027.

Born on September 2, 1959 in Delhi, Justice Kohli did her LLB from the Campus Law Centre in Delhi University and was the standing counsel and legal advisor of the New Delhi Municipal Council in the High Court of Delhi from 1999-2004.

She was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Delhi on May 29, 2006 and took oath as a permanent judge on August 29, 2007 and later became the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court on January 7, 2021.

Justice Trivedi, born on June 10, 1960, is the judge of the Gujarat High Court since February 9, 2016 and belongs to the judicial service category.

Besides Fathima Beevi, who became an apex court judge on October 6, 1989, seven more women judges have been appointed till now. They are Justices Sujata Vasant Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Mishra, Ranjana Desai, R Bhanumathi, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.

Justice Banerjee would demit office on September 23 next year.

Judicial appointments in the Supreme Court have remained frozen since September 2019. The first of the 10 vacancies in the Supreme Court arose following the retirement of Justice Ranjan Gogoi in November 2019 as the chief justice of India.

The latest vacancy was created following the retirement of Justice Navin Sinha on August 18 this year.

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