NEW DELHI, May 16 (PTI): The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Tuesday recommended to the Centre the names of Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and senior advocate KV Viswanathan as judges of the apex court.
If the recommendation of the collegium is accepted by the government, Viswanathan, upon the retirement of Justice JB Pardiwala on August 11, 2030, will become the Chief Justice of India and remain in the post till May 25, 2031.
The five-member collegium said the Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges and is currently functioning with 32.
Two Supreme Court judges-Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and MR Shah- have retired in the last two days.
The collegium, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna, noted in its resolution that four more vacancies are going to arise by the second week of July and the working strength of judges will come down to 28.
Justice KM Joseph is set to retire on June 16, 2023, Justice Ajay Rastogi on June 17, Justice V Ramasubramanian on June 29 and Justice Krishna Murari on July 8 this year.
Justice Mishra was appointed as a judge of the High Court of Chhattisgarh on December 10, 2009. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh on October 13, 2021.
“The Collegium unanimously resolves to recommend that Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India,” the resolution said.
The Collegium said it had deliberated on and discussed the names of chief justices and senior puisne judges of the high courts eligible for appointment to the Supreme Court.
The word puisne has French origins, which means “later born” or younger.
While recommending appointments to the Supreme Court the collegium has taken into consideration the following aspects–the seniority of chief justices and senior puisne judges in their respective parent high courts as well as overall seniority of the high court judges, the merit, performance and integrity of the judges under consideration.
The resolution said the collegium also considered the need to ensure diversity and inclusion in the Supreme Court by representation of high courts, which are not represented or are inadequately represented and appointment of persons from marginalised and backward segments of society.
The other aspects considered were gender diversity and representation of minorities, the collegium said.
“After carefully evaluating the merit, integrity and competence of eligible Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of the High Courts and also accommodating a plurality of considerations, the Collegium finds Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, Chief Justice, Andhra Pradesh High Court to be more deserving and suitable in all respects for being appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India,” it said.
The resolution said there is no representation of the High Court of Chhattisgarh in the present composition of the Supreme Court of India.
“Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra has served as a judge of the High Court for over thirteen years and ranks at serial number 21 in the All-India Seniority List of judges of the High Courts,” it said, adding that during his tenure of nearly 12 years as a judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court, Justice Mishra has acquired significant experience in diverse fields of law.
It said Justice Mishra’s judgments cover wide ranging issues pertaining to law and justice.
“Besides according representation to the State of Chhattisgarh, the appointment of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra will provide a value addition in terms of his acquired knowledge and experience. Justice Mishra is a judge with integrity,” it said.
The resolution said having considered all relevant factors, the collegium is of the view that Justice Mishra is worthy of appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.
It said having regard to the fact that at present there is only one member from the Bar (Justice PS Narasimha) directly appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, the collegium has also considered the names of eminent members of the Bar.
“In their considered opinion, KV Viswanathan, Senior Advocate is eminently suitable for being appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court,” the resolution said, adding the appointment of Viswanathan will enhance the representation to the Bar in the composition of the Supreme Court.
“On the retirement of Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala on August 11, 2030, Viswanathan would be in line to assume office as the Chief Justice of India till his retirement on May 25, 2031. In view of the foregoing, the Collegium further resolves to recommend that the appointments of the above persons be made in the following order of seniority: Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, (ii) K V Viswanathan,” the resolution said.