Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran and KM Joseph were sworn-in as new Supreme Court judges on Tuesday. The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra administered the oath to the three new judges. With this the strength of judges in the Supreme Court counts to 25,however, it is still short of six out of the total strength of 31.
In case of these three judges being appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Indira Banerjee became a High Court judge on 5 February 2002 and Justice Vineet Sarin was appointed to the High Court on 14 February 2002. Justice KM Joseph was appointed High Court judge on 14 October 2004.
Earlier on Monday, the government clarified over the judge appointment row saying, “the list of judges has been prepared as per seniority.” A day after the clarification, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal stepped up the attack on the Government saying that Justice Joseph’s “downgrade in his elevation will be marked as a black day in the history of the Court.”
Top government sources told Republic TV that “the names have been shortlisted in a precedent manner. The one who becomes HC judge early takes oath early. Both judges (Indira Banerjee and Vineet Sharan) became High Court judges before Justice KM Joseph.”
The Centre released the notification on the appointment of judges to the top court last Friday. Justice KM Joseph was put at the third position in the list.
Furthermore, despite the intensified row over the appointment, the Supreme Court said the the oath-taking ceremony of the three judges elevated to the Supreme Court will take place as scheduled on Tuesday in the order of seniority notified by the Centre.
Judges including members of the collegium comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri met Chief Justice Dipak Misra to raise their concerns on the seniority issue concerning Justice K M Joseph.