The five judges who have been recommended by the six-member Collegium led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud for elevation as apex court judges include three chief justices and two judges of different high courts.
The Collegium’s recommendations, if accepted by the Centre, will raise the total number of judges in the apex court to 33 against the sanctioned strength of 34, including the CJI.
The five judges whose names have been recommended are Justice Pankaj Mithal, Justice Sanjay Karol, Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Manoj Misra. Of them, the senior-most is Justice Pankaj Mithal who took over as Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on October 14 this year.
Born on June 17, 1961, Justice Mithal is a 1982 commerce graduate from Allahabad University. He completed his LLB in 1985 from Meerut College and enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh the same year.
He started practising in Allahabad High Court in 1985 and served as the standing counsel for the Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad. He was also the standing counsel of Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra, between 1990 and February 2006.
Justice Mithal was elevated as additional judge of the Allahabad High Court on July 7, 2006, and took oath as permanent Judge on July 2, 2008. He took oath as the Chief Justice of the Common High Court for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh on January 4, 2021. Chief Justice of Patna High Court Sanjay Karol was born on August 23, 1961. An alumnus of the prestigious St. Edward School of Shimla, he graduated with honours in history from Government Degree College, Shimla. A native of Kangra district, he obtained his degree in law from Himachal Pradesh University and enrolled as an advocate in 1986. Justice Karol practised in various courts, including the Supreme Court. He has specialised in matters related to Constitution, taxation, corporate, criminal and civil cases. He was designated as a senior advocate in 1999.
Justice Karol was also the advocate general of Himachal Pradesh from 1998 to 2003 and was elevated as a Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court on March 8, 2007. He was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the court with effect from April 25, 2017. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court on November 9, 2018, and of the Patna High Court on November 11, 2019.
Manipur High Court Chief Justice P V Sanjay Kumar is another judge who has been recommended by the six-member collegium for elevation to the top court.
Born on August 14, 1963, he did his graduation in commerce from Nizam College, Hyderabad and secured his law degree from Delhi University in 1988. Justice Kumar enrolled as a member of the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in August 1988 and served as a government pleader in the Andhra Pradesh High Court from 2000 to 2003.
He was elevated to the bench as an additional judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on August 8, 2008, and assumed charge as a permanent judge of the court on January 20, 2010. Justice Kumar assumed charge as a judge of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on October 14, 2019. He took oath as the Chief Justice of Manipur High Court on February 14, 2021. Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah of Patna High Court, another judge to be recommended for judgeship in the top court, was born on May 11, 1963. He enrolled with the Bihar State Bar Council on September 27, 1991, and was standing counsel for the state government from March 2006 to August 2010. He was a government advocate in Patna High Court till his elevation as Judge in the same court on June 20, 2011. He was transferred to Andhra Pradesh High Court on October 10, 2021, and back to Patna High Court on June 20, 2022. Justice Manoj Misra, who has also been recommended for elevation as an apex court judge, was born on June 2, 1965. He enrolled as an advocate on December 12, 1988, and was elevated to additional judge at Allahabad High Court on November 21, 2011. He took oath as a permanent judge on August 6, 2013.
Out of the 28 apex court judges at present, nine are scheduled to retire in 2023.
The composition of the Collegium, which usually comprises the CJI and four senior-most judges who decide the appointment of judges to the apex court, has undergone a change and now it has six members with the entry of Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
The change in the Collegium has occurred due to the fact that after the CJI, none of the four senior-most apex court judges — justices S K Kaul, S Abdul Nazeer, K M Joseph and M R Shah — would become the head of the judiciary.
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