Five new judges to the Supreme Court were sworn-in on Friday by the Chief justice Of India J S Khehar, taking the court strength to 28. Three seats still remain vacant..
Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dipak Gupta, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, S. Abdul Nazeer and Navin Sinha—chief justices of the high courts of Madras, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan, respectively—are ones who were sworn-in.
Their names had been recommended by the Supreme Court collegium in January.
This was the second set of appointments to the top court since it declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, unconstitutional and an infringement on judicial independence. In May 2016, four judges were appointed to the court.
The appointments have been made inspite of a standoff between the apex court collegium and the Centre in finalising the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for appointing judges.
In October 2015, a five-judge constitution bench struck down the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, and the NJAC Act that sought to give the executive a say in the appointment of top judges and restored the collegium system of making judicial appointments.
Under the collegium system, a group of the five senior-most Supreme Court judges appoints other judges to the higher judiciary—the high courts and the Supreme Court. Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution stipulate that judges will be appointed by the President of India after “consultation” with the chief justice of India and other judges.