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During the first week of the post-summer vacation period, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel will attain superannuation, on July 6. The next to retire will be Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, whose tenure ends on October 2. Two other members of the Collegium – Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Madan Lokur – will retire towards the fag end of the year, on November 29 and December 30 respectively.
With the earlier retirements of Justices Amitava Roy and RK Agrawal on March 1 and May 4 respectively, and the recent retirement of Justice Chelameswar, the strength of the Supreme Court now stands at 23, as against a sanctioned strength of 31. And with the retirement of four more judges on the cards, that number could go down to 19, provided of course, fresh appointments are not made.
The Supreme Court Collegium is also slated to undergo a sea change by the end of the year. By January 2019, four judges of the last Collegium would have retired. For now, with Justice Chelameswar’s retirement, Justice AK Sikri will be inducted into the five-member Collegium. Sikri J, who retires in March 2019, will serve on the Collegium for a little over eight months.
The new Collegium will have its work cut out to fill up the vacancies in the Supreme Court. As of now, only one name has cropped up for elevation – that of Justice KM Joseph. However, that has been stalled, given the Centre’s reluctance to approve his appointment. The first agenda of the new Collegium will be to take a final call on reiterating the previous Collegium’s position on Joseph J’s elevation.
As far as High Court appointments are concerned, Justice Lokur will replace Justice Chelameswar on the three-member Collegium. As of June 1, there were 420 vacancies across the 24 High Courts.