Three judges, including a woman, were on Tuesday sworn in as Supreme Court judges, raising the strength of women in the annals of the highest judiciary to two for the first time.
Justices Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, Ranjana Prakash Desai and Jagdish Singh Khehar were administered the oath of office by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, taking the total strength of judges at the apex court to 29 from the present 26.
While Justice Mukhopadhya was the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Desai was a judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Khehar Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.Though the apex court got its first woman judge in 1989, with appointment of Justice Desai, it will be for the first time that the apex court will be having two women judges. The other judge is Justice Gyan Sudha Misra.
The apex court at present has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges including the CJI, but currently it is having only 26 judges, out of which four are scheduled to retire by 15th October.
So, even after these three appointments, there would still be six vacancies. Going by the seniority of the present apex court judges, Justice Khehar, who was sworn in on Tuesday is being seen as a potential first Sikh Chief Justice of India after the retirement of Justice T S Thakur on 4th January 2017.
Justice Thakur is likely to take the reins of the top judge’s post in September 2014.