File picture: Kapil Sibal Photograph:( AFP )
Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice K M Joseph were sworn in as Supreme Court judges today. Chief Justice Dipak Misra administered them the oath of office.
With the appointment of the three judges, the total strength of the judges in the apex court has gone up to 25 against the sanctioned strength of 31.
While Justice Banerjee was the chief justice of Madras High Court, Justice Saran and Joseph were chief justices of the high courts in Odisha and Uttarakhand respectively.
The swearing-in took place in the middle of the controversy over the government relegating Justice Joseph to the third position in the order of seniority even though he was recommended for elevation way back on January 10.
Reportedly, judges including members of the collegium comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri met Chief Justice Dipak Misra to raise their concerns on the seniority issue concerning Justice K M Joseph.
Commenting on the latest row, Kapil Sibal as quoted in an ANI report said, "The government has given the message that if a judge doesn't make a judgement in their favour, he may be treated the same. I believe that this day will be seen as a 'black day' in the history of Indian judiciary. This is the arrogance of the government."
The govt has given the message that if a judge doesn't make a judgement in their favour, he may be treated the same. I believe that this day will be seen as a 'black day' in the history of Indian judiciary. This is the arrogance of the govt: Kapil Sibal on Justice KM Joseph pic.twitter.com/jENtmk9J9G— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2018
Justice Joseph is currently the longest-serving chief justice of any high court in India, with his tenure in the Supreme Court expected to go on till June 16, 2023. On the other hand, Justice Banerjee will serve as an SC judge until September 9, 2022, and Justice Saran till May 10, 2022.
(With inputs from agencies)