For the first time in 68 years, the Supreme Court will have three sitting woman judges following the elevation of Madras high court chief justice Indira Banerjee to the top court. The other sitting woman Supreme Court judges are Justices R. Bhanumathi and Indu Malhotra.
Apart from chief justice Banerjee, chief justices of Uttarakhand and Orissa high courts — K.M. Joseph and Naveen Sharan — were also elevated to the Supreme Court on 04 August 2018, taking the total number of judges in the apex court to 25. There would still be six vacancies in the top court.
Justice Joseph had struck down the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016 after the dismissal of a Congress government led by Harish Rawat. An earlier recommendation of the collegium to transfer Justice Joseph to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana high court on health grounds was kept pending by the government for a long time Justice Joseph’s name was recommended for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court by the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on January 10.
On April 30, the government had returned the recommendation for reconsideration on the grounds that he lacked seniority. It was in 2011 during the tenure of former CJI Balakrishnan that the strength of judges of the apex court was increased from 25 to 31 to provide for the appointment of at least two women judges. As a result Justices, Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Desai served during the same point of time. Now after seven years, the apex court will have three women judges serving at the same point in time.
Despite Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad requesting the apex court collegium to consider giving representation to communities which are not represented, the Supreme Court is yet to have a Scheduled Caste judge after CJI K.G. Balakrishnan retired in 2010.