President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday signed the warrant for the appointment of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar, Kerala High Court Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and senior advocate L. Nageswar Rao as Supreme Court judges.
To be sworn in on Friday
They will be sworn in on Friday, the Supreme Court’s last working day before the summer vacation.
The SC collegium had recommended their names, 15 months after the appointment of Justice Amitava Roy in February 2015. They are the first appointments to the Supreme Court since the collegium system of judicial appointments was restored.
A Constitution Bench of the apex court in October 2015 struck down the NDA government’s National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) that was to replace the 22-year-old collegium system. The NJAC gave politicians an equal say in appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts.
The appointments will take the judicial strength in the Supreme Court to 28 from the present 25.
Chief Justice Thakur had, in an emotional outpouring last month, spoken about the “impossible burden” shouldered by a few judges who were forced to work day in and day out to clear pending cases.
They will come as a relief in a year that will see five SC judges retiring — Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla in July, Justices V. Gopala Gowda and C. Nagappan in October and Justices Anil R. Dave and Shiva Kirti Singh in November.