Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, KM Joseph Take Oath In Top Court

Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, KM Joseph Take Oath In Top Court

NEW DELHI: Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran and KM Joseph were sworn in as new Supreme Court judges today. The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra administered the oath to the three new judges.

With their entry, the strength of judges in the Supreme Court is now 25, still short of six out of the total strength of 31.

On Monday, a group of judges who are upset about what they believe is the government's attempt to alter the seniority of Justice KM Joseph, met Chief Justice Misra.

Justice Joseph's elevation to the Supreme Court has been cleared after much back-and-forth in the past eight months.

The Chief Justice reportedly promised the judges, including three from the Supreme Court collegium or panel that recommends appointments, that he would take up their protest with the centre.

Government sources have justified the order that places Justice Joseph last in seniority among the three judges sworn in today. But this will not alter materially Justice Joseph's tenure.

Several Supreme Court judges say the government order is unfair since Justice Joseph's name was recommended long before those of Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Sharan. They accuse the government of "blatant interference and pettiness" for being forced to accept Justice Joseph's name after its objections were overruled by the judges' panel.

Denying the charge, government sources said Justice Joseph was appointed high court judge in October 2004, more than two years after Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Vineet Sharan (both in February 2002).

Justice Joseph did become Chief Justice before the other two judges, said sources, but seniority is decided on the date of appointment as high court judge, not Chief Justice.