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The Central Government has cleared the appointment of four judges to the Supreme Court, according to various news reports.
The judges are Justice AS Bopanna, Anirudhha Bose, BR Gavai and Surya Kant.
Once the four judges take oath this week, the Supreme Court will begin functioning at its maximum strength of 31 judges.
Justices Bose and Bopanna are currently Chief Justices of the Jharkhand High Court and the Gauhati High Court respectively. Justice Bose stands at the all India seniority of Sl no. 12 in the combined seniority list of all India High Court judges, while Justice Bopanna stands at Sl no. 36.
The Centre had earlier returned the names of Justices Bose and Bopanna, but the Collegium later reiterated the same.
Justice BR Gavai is currently serving as a judge of Bombay High Court. He was appointed as a judge of Bombay High Court in 2003.
Justice Gavai was also in the news in 2017 when he gave an interview to Indian Express denying any suspicious circumstances surrounding Judge Loya’s death.
Justice Surya Kant is currently serving as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. His candidature has been riddled in controversy.
Justice Kant hails from Punjab & Haryana High Court. The Collegium had initially recommended that he be elevated as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. However, Justice AK Goel (then a sitting Supreme Court judge) had penned a letter to then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra disagreeing with the proposal to make Kant J. Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.
Justice Goel, being a Supreme Court judge well-versed with the goings-on of the Punjab & Haryana High Court (his parent High Court), had been asked to give his views regarding certain allegations of corruption against Justice Surya Kant, who was then a judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
In his letter, Justice Goel had expressed his disagreement with the recommendation, until an inquiry into the allegations against Justice Kant was conducted. Further, while recommending Surya Kant J’s name for elevation, the Collegium had superseded Justice AK Mittal, who was more senior to Kant J.
Justice Goel’s opinion eventually counted for little, with the Collegium sticking by its initial decision. Thus, by a notification dated October 3, 2018, Justice Kant was appointed as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
Read the Notifications: