New Delhi: The Supreme Court is set to regain its full strength of 34 judges with two fresh appointments to the top court on Saturday.
Two days after the Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana recommended the names of Gauhati high court Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Jamshed B Pardiwala of the Gujarat high court for elevation to the apex court, the Union Law Ministry announced their appointments on Saturday in separate notifications.
Once they take oath early next week, the Supreme Court will regain its sanctioned strength of 34 judges.
Justice Pardiwala will go on to serve as the CJI for over two years, sources aware of the procedure to appoint members of the higher judiciary said.
Justice Dhulia, who will be the second judge to be elevated from Uttarakhand, is the sibling of national award-winning film director and actor Tigmanshu Dhulia. He will have a tenure of a little over three years.
Justice Pardiwala will be the fourth judge from the Parsi community to adorn the top court bench and the first high court judge from the minority community who has been elevated in the last five years, after Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
Justice Nazeer was elevated to Supreme Court in February 2017.
With the retirement of Justice R Subhash Reddy on January 4 this year, the total strength of apex court judges had come down to 32 against the sanctioned strength of 34.
Justice Dhulia, born on August 10, 1960, is from Madanpur, a remote village located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. He joined the Bar at Allahabad high court in 1986.
An alumnus of Sainik School, Lucknow, he did his graduation and Law from the University of Allahabad.
Justice Dhulia was the first chief standing counsel in the high court of Uttarakhand and was later an additional advocate general, and was elevated as the judge in the same high court in November 2008.
He later became the chief justice of the high court of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh on January 10, 2021.
Justice Pardiwala, born on August 12, 1965, started practising law in the high court of Gujarat in 1990.
The CJI, who himself will demit office on August 26 this year, has been successful in evolving consensus in the five-judge collegium to unanimously recommend a record number of 11 names so far, since August last year.
The apex court, which did not get a single judge after the superannuation of the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi on November 17, 2019, had nine existing vacancies when CJI Ramana took over, and the high courts had around 600 vacancies.
The collegium then ensured the filling up of nine vacancies in the Supreme Court in August last year in one go, and Justice B V Nagarathna, one of three women judges, would become the first woman CJI.
The year 2022 is going to be the second year since the inception of the top court in 1950 which will see three different CJIs in as many months.
The incumbent CJI, who will demit office on August 26, will be succeeded by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit having a tenure of a little over two months.
Justice Lalit’s retirement in November will pave the way for Justice D Y Chandrachud to take over as head of the judiciary for a term of a little over two years.