NEW DELHI: CJI N V Ramana-led collegium’s last meeting on Thursday ended without transacting any business but the CJI would take pride in appointing three women judges to the Supreme Court, one among whom would go on to create history by becoming the first woman CJI in 2027.
With just three weeks left for CJI Ramana’s retirement, the collegium, also comprising Justices U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, agreed that proposals for filling up of three vacancies in the SC and transfers of HC chief justices could wait till the swearing-in of the new CJI.
Justice Lalit will be sworn in as the 49th CJI on August 27 and would have a short tenure of 74 days. As CJI, he will lead a collegium comprising Justices Chandrachud, Kaul, Nazeer and Indira Banerjee. Justice K M Joseph will enter the collegium on September 23, when Justice Banerjee will retire.
Justice Lalit, scheduled to retire on November 8, would have to write to the Union government on October 8 recommending appointment of Justice Chandrachud as the 50th CJI. Whatever vacancies and transfers are to be filled during Justice Lalit’s tenure as CJI, it would have to be done between August 27 and October 7, within a span of 42 days.
Justice Ramana became CJI on April 24 last year succeeding CJI S A Bobde, whose one year and five month tenure as head of judiciary was marred by pandemic and saw no appointments to the SC.
In contrast, CJI Ramana-led collegium during the last one year and four months saw appointment of 11 SC judges, including a record nine judges at one go in August last year. For the first time three women took oath as SC judges on August 31 last year. One of them, Justice B V Nagarathna, would become the first woman CJI on September 30, 2027.
In addition, the Justice Ramana-headed collegium also recommended appointment of 255 persons as HC judges, of which 185 were appointed and 70 are still pending with the government. During his tenure, 15 chief justices were appointed to various HCs.
Govt seeks CJI’s successor pick
The Union government on Wednesday initiated the process for appointment of the 49th Chief Justice of India by writing to CJI N V Ramana to recommend the name of his successor. Law minister Kiren Rijiju, in a letter dated August 3, cited the convention of the incumbent CJI recommending the name of his successor and requested Justice Ramana to send the name of the next CJI. Justice Ramana will retire on August 26.
The CJI recommends the name of the most senior SC judge as the successor. In this case it will be Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, who will be the second direct appointee from the Bar to become the CJI. Justice S M Sikri was the first direct appointee from the Bar to beCJI on January 22, 1971