New Delhi: The Government of India accepted all the 18 recommended names for Supreme Court judges that were sent to it by the Supreme Court collegium in the three-year period covering 2018, 2019 and 2020. All these 18 names were appointed as judges. This information was shared by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice with The Sunday Guardian while responding to an RTI query filed by this newspaper.
The Law ministry, while responding to The Sunday Guardian’s queries, stated that since May 2014—when the present BJP-led government came to power—and till 1 August 2021, 35 judges were appointed in the Supreme Court, while 602 fresh judges were appointed across the High Courts in the country in the same time period.
The Law ministry, in its response to this newspaper’s queries, has also stated that 551 Additional judges were appointed as Permanent judges across the various High Courts in the country in the same seven-year period. This number does not include the nine Supreme Court judges who were recommended by the collegium on 17 August 2021 who took oath on 31 August. The last appointment of Supreme Court judges before this recent set of appointments had taken place in August 2019, when four Chief Justices of various High Courts were appointed as Supreme Court judges during the tenure of former Chief Justice of India and now a Rajya Sabha member, Ranjan Gogoi.
The collegium is a high-powered appointment panel led by the incumbent CJI and comprises four senior judges of the top court. During the roughly 17-month tenure of former CJI S.A. Bobde, which started from November 2019 till April 2021, not a single name was recommended and sent by the collegiums to the Centre for appointment as Supreme Court judge. Bobde retired with the distinction of being the only CJI in India under whose tenure, not a single Supreme Court judge was appointed.