Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court were sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court on Friday.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi administered the oath of office to the two judges in the Chief Justice's court. The top court now has 28 judges as against sanction strength of 31.
President Ram Nath Kovind had notified the appointments of Maheshwari and Khanna on Wednesday. The elevation took place amid a controversy which erupted after the five-member collegium headed by Gogoi recommended their names while revoking its 12 December, 2018 decision.
In its 12 December talks, the collegium had recommended the elevation of Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Rajendra Menon to Supreme Court. However, the deliberation remained inconclusive and one member of the collegium, Justice MB Lokur, retired on 30 December, 2018.
Lokur's place in the collegium was taken by Justice Arun Mishra and the new collegium on 10 January ignored their prospect of elevation as apex court judges.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday protested the collegium's recommendation to elevate Khanna by superseding several other judges and termed the decision as "whimsical and arbitrary".
Before the BCI made a statement protesting the decision of the collegium, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court also wrote a note to the CJI and other members of the Collegium for ignoring the seniority of chief justices of the high courts of Rajasthan and Delhi, Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon, respectively.
Sources told PTI that Kaul was of the view that a wrong signal would go out if the two chief justices, who are up in the seniority list than Khanna, would be left out for elevation as apex court judges.
Former CJI RM Lodha was also critical of the decision of the collegium, saying that the controversial presser by senior judges of the Supreme Court on 12 January, 2018 has not served its purpose.
"The concerns remain the same. Rather, they seem to have aggravated by this exercise (recent recommendations). I don't think there is any change. At least it is not visible to the public at large. It has not served its purpose because we don't find the changes which the press conference wanted to have really taken place," Lodha said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 18, 2019 10:55:31 IST