NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Collegium on Tuesday recommended for elevation of Justice Rajesh Bindal, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court and Justice Aravind Kumar, Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court as judges of the top court.
The six-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud made the unanimous resolution to recommend Justice Bindal, who is originally from Punjab and Haryana High Court, and stood at number two in the combined all India seniority list of High Court judges.
With regard to Justice Kumar, a Collegium member, Justice K M Joseph had made reservations and opined that his name may be considered at a later date.
The statement 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 the (two) persons to be more deserving and suitable in all respects for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India".
Making its resolution public, the Collegium, comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, K M Joseph, M R Shah, Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna said while recommending the two names, they have considered seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges in their respective parent High Courts as well as overall seniority of the High Court Judges; and the merit, performance and integrity of the judges under consideration.
It also said the Collegium considered the need to ensure diversity and inclusion in the Supreme Court of persons from marginalized and backward segments of society; gender diversity; and representation of minorities.
At present, the SC which had a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, functioned with 27 judges.
On December 13, 2022, the Collegium recommended five names for appointment as Judges of the Supreme Court, namely Justice Pankaj Mithal, Justice Sanjay Karol, Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Justice Manoj Misra.
"Their appointment is yet to be notified by the government. The Collegium resolves to recommend two more names for appointment as Judges of the Supreme Court against the two remaining vacancies," the Collegium said, adding that their should be notified separately and earlier in point of time before the two judges recommended by this resolution.
Justice Bindal was appointed as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 22, 2006.
He was appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on October 11, 2021.
He is the seniormost Judge hailing from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which is one of the largest High Courts with a sanctioned strength of 85 judges.
"The Punjab and Haryana High Court is not adequately represented on the bench of the Supreme Court. This is a common High Court for two States," the Collegium noted.
Justice Kumar was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on June 26, 2009 and as permanent Judge on December 7, 2012. He was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat on October 13, 2021. Justice Kumar stands at serial number 26 in the combined all-India-seniority of High Court Judges. "While recommending his name, the Collegium is conscious of the fact that in the seniority of Judges hailing from the Karnataka High Court, Justice Kumar stands at serial number 02," it said.