The Supreme Court of India, with a sanctioned strength of thirty-four Judges, is presently functioning with thirty-one Judges. This has resulted in a significant backlog of cases and an increased workload for the serving Judges. Considering this, it has become imperative to always maintain a full working judge-strength in the Supreme Court, leaving no vacancy unoccupied.
To address this issue and expedite the dispensation of justice, the Supreme Court Collegium comprising of , Dr. Justice DY Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant, on 06-11-2023, after careful evaluation of the merit, integrity, and competence of eligible Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, and taking into account the broader considerations of diversity and inclusion, resolved to recommend Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, Justice Augustine George Masih, and Justice Sandeep Mehta as Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
The Supreme Court Collegium considered several key aspects when making the above-mentioned recommendations, including:
The seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges in their respective parent High Courts, as well as their overall seniority among High Court Judges.
The merit, performance, and integrity of the judges under consideration.
The importance of ensuring diversity and inclusion within the Supreme Court, focusing on:
Representation of High Courts that are currently underrepresented in the Supreme Court.
Appointments from marginalized and backward segments of society.
Representation of minorities.
Justice Satish Chandra Sharma
Justice Satish Chandra Sharma embarked on his judicial career when he was appointed as a Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 18-01-2008. Justice Sharma’s remarkable journey within the judiciary reached a significant milestone when he was elevated as the Chief Justice of the High Court for the State of Telangana on 11-10-2021. His tenure as the Chief Justice of a state’s high court marked a period of substantial responsibility and leadership in the legal arena. On 28-06-2022, Justice Sharma was transferred to the High Court of Delhi, where he continues to make substantial contributions to the Indian judiciary.
Justice Sharma’s career is distinguished by his more than 15 years of service as a judge in the high courts and over 2 years as Chief Justice. His contributions to the legal landscape are reflected in the judgments he has authored, covering a wide spectrum of legal issues across various branches of law.
Before his elevation as a Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Justice Sharma had an illustrious career as a practitioner, specializing in constitutional, service, civil, and criminal matters. His wealth of experience as an advocate further enhances his understanding of the legal system and the intricacies of legal matters.
Justice Sharma’s seniority as a high court judge is underscored by his position at Sl. No. 2 in the combined all-India seniority of High Court Judges. Moreover, in the seniority of judges hailing from the Madhya Pradesh High Court, he stands at Sl. No. 1, emphasizing his distinguished standing within his originating high court. Moreover, at present, the Bench of the Supreme Court is represented by only one judge from the Madhya Pradesh High Court and Justice Sharma’s potential appointment would not only bring increased representation from this high court but also add to the diversity and strength of the highest court in the land.
Justice Augustine George Masih
Justice AG Masih embarked on his judicial career when he was appointed as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 10-07-2008. The defining moment in Justice Masih’s illustrious career came when he was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court on 30-05-2023. This elevation marked a pivotal juncture in his judicial career, taking on a position of profound responsibility and leadership in the realm of the law.
Throughout his extensive tenure as a judge of the High Court, Justice Masih has acquired a wealth of experience across diverse fields of law. His service to the bench has exposed him to a myriad of legal issues, ranging from constitutional and service matters to labor and civil cases. This breadth of experience has fortified his understanding of the law and equipped him with the necessary expertise to interpret and apply it judiciously.
Before his appointment as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Masih established himself as a proficient practitioner in matters of constitutional law, service disputes, labor issues, and civil cases. His years as an advocate allowed him to acquire a profound understanding of the legal system and the intricacies of a wide range of legal matters.
Justice Masih’s seniority as a high court judge is underscored by his position at Sl. No. 7 in the combined all-India seniority of High Court Judges. Moreover, in the seniority of judges originating from the High Court of Punjab & Haryana, he holds the esteemed position of Sl. No. 1. His seniority reflects his remarkable standing within his originating high court. It is important to acknowledge that Justice Masih belongs to a minority community. His potential appointment to the Supreme Court would not only add to the diversity of the bench but also underline the judiciary’s commitment to inclusivity and representation.
Justice Sandeep Mehta
Justice Sandeep Mehta commenced his journey in the judiciary when he was appointed as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 30-05-2011. A momentous chapter in Justice Mehta’s illustrious career was when he was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, where he has been serving since 15-02-2023.
Throughout his tenure as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court and as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, Justice Mehta has accumulated a wealth of adjudicatory experience. This experience has allowed him to engage with a diverse range of legal issues, further strengthening his understanding of the law and equipping him with the necessary expertise to interpret and apply it judiciously.
Before his appointment as a judge, Justice Mehta had established himself as a proficient practitioner, appearing before trial courts, the High Court, and the Supreme Court. His practice primarily focused on constitutional and criminal laws, which equipped him with a profound understanding of the legal system and the complexities of a wide range of legal matters.
Justice Mehta’s seniority as a high court judge is underscored by his position at Sl. No. 23 in the combined all-India seniority of High Court Judges. Within the seniority of judges hailing from the Rajasthan High Court, he holds the prestigious position of Sl. No. 1. His seniority is a testament to his distinguished standing within his originating high court.
Justice Mehta’s parent High Court, the Rajasthan High Court, is a significant and substantial institution. It is notable for its size and influence but currently lacks representation on the Bench of the Supreme Court. His potential appointment to the Supreme Court not only fulfills the need for representation from this High Court but also offers a valuable addition in terms of the knowledge and experience he brings.