Four new judges were administered the oath of office by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi at the Supreme Court on Friday, two of whom will go on to be the Chief Justices of India following the order of seniority.
With the swearing in of Justices B.R. Gavai, Surya Kant, Aniruddha Bose and A.S. Bopanna, the number of judges in the apex court now stands at 31, the full sanctioned strength of the top court.
Chief Justice Gogoi also attained the rare feat of overseeing the appointment of 10 Supreme Court judges.
Gogoi was sworn in as Chief Justice on October 3, 2018 and he would retire on November 17. Justice B.R. Gavai will become the CJI in 2025 for over six months. After retired Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, he will be the second CJI from the SC community.
Justice Surya Kant will succeed Justice Gavai as the CJI in November 2025. He will remain in office till February 2027.
The two other judges sworn in on May 24 are Jharkhand High Court and Gauhati High Court Chief Justices Aniruddha Bose and A.S. Bopanna respectively.
The government had earlier objected to two names: Justices Bose and Bopanna. It had informed the Supreme Court Collegium, citing seniority and representation of regions as the key issues.
The five-member Collegium is headed by the CJI.
The Supreme Court Collegium rejected the Centre's comeback and recommended Justices Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Surya Kant for elevation as the top court judges.
"The Collegium resolves to reiterate the afore-mentioned recommendation dated April 12, 2019, especially since nothing adverse regarding competence, conduct or integrity of Justices (1) Aniruddha Bose and (2) A.S. Bopanna has been pointed out," the court said in a statement.
Justice Bose stands at number 12 in the combined seniority list of all-India High Court judges while Justice Bopanna stands at number 36.
On April 12, both judges were recommended by the Collegium for elevation to the Supreme Court after considering factors such as merit, seniority as well as regional representation on the Supreme Court bench.
The Collegium, rejecting the Centre's plea, said that it was aware of the parameters while recommending the two judges. Following the procedure of seniority among judges in their respective high courts and then looking into the combined seniority on an all-India basis, it reiterated its proposal to elevate the two judges.
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