The Centre is learnt to have cleared all the nine names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment to the top court, which currently has 24 judges against a sanctioned strength of 35.
Highly placed sources told The Indian Express that the recommendations have been “processed, approved and forwarded to the President for issuance of warrants of appointment”. “If all goes well, the Supreme Court may see near full strength by early next week,” the sources added.
The Supreme Court Collegium, comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, had on August 17 recommended nine names, including eight High Court judges and an advocate, for elevation to the apex court.
The nine nominated by it were four High Court Chief Justices —Vikram Nath (Gujarat), A S Oka (Karnataka), Hima Kohli (Telangana) and J K Maheshwari (Sikkim) — four High Court judges Justices B V Nagarathna (Karnataka), M M Sundresh (Madras), C T Ravikumar (Kerala) and Bela M Trivedi (Gujarat), and Senior Advocate P S Narasimha.
The Indian Express first reported on the Collegium’s choices on August 18.
In a first, the list included three women judges, of whom Justice Nagarathna could go on to become the country’s first woman Chief Justice, though for just over a month — from September 25 to October 29, 2027. Besides her, Gujarat Chief Justice Nath and Senior Advocate Narasimha also have a chance to become the Chief Justice of India, also with short tenures.
If he becomes Chief Justice of India, Narasimha, who also served as Additional Solicitor General, would only be the second direct appointee occupying the top post.
The daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramaiah, Justice Nagarathna practised commercial law in Bengaluru before being appointed as Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court in 2008. She is currently the second most senior judge in the High Court.
On August 17, when the Collegium met, the Supreme Court had nine vacancies. With the retirement of Justice Navin Sinha on August 18, this has gone up to 10.