The Prime Minister’s Office is learnt to have cleared the nine names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana for appointment as judges of the apex court.
Law ministry sources said that the PMO cleared the appointments of Karnataka HC Chief Justice A S Oka, Gujarat HC CJ Vikram Nath, Sikkim CJ J K Maheshwari, Telangana HC CJ Hima Kohli, Karnataka HC judge B V Nagarathna, Kerala HC judge C T Ravikumar, Madras HC judge M M Sundresh, Gujarat HC judge Bela M Trivedi and senior advocate P S Narasimha.
The nine have been advised by the law ministry to undergo customary medical tests prior to issuance of warrants of appointment by the President.
This is the largest number of names recommended by the collegium at one go for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court and the quickest, within a week, clearance by the PMO.
Importantly, the names include three woman judges — Justices Hima Kohli, B V Nagarathna and Bela Trivedi — and one among whom, Justice Nagarathna, will go on to become the first woman CJI in the year 2027, albeit for a little over a month. These appointments will also create another milestone in the country’s judicial history as Narasimha would be the first appointee directly from the bar to become CJI. Earlier, eight had been directly appointed from the bar directly to the SC as judges — SM Sikri, SC Roy, Kuldip Singh, N Santosh Hegde, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, LN Rao and Indu Malhotra.
With the warrants of appointment to be issued soon after the recommended persons successfully complete their medical tests, the apex court will function almost at full strength. When the nine take oath, the working strength will increase to 33, leaving just one vacancy. The Supreme Court at present is functioning with 24 judges, mainly because CJI N V Ramana’s predecessor SA Bobde could not recommend a single name for appointment as Supreme Court judge due to a lack of consensus among the collegium.