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Appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court

Appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court

By Mansi Verma, II Year
GNLU, Gandhinagar

The constitution of India came into being on 26 January 1950 and in its 71 years of existence, The Supreme court has had mere 11 women judges in the Supreme Court including the three women judges sworn in on 31 August, 2021. Recently the President who is the appointing authority in India, appointed 9 new judges to the apex court, a staggering three of them being women and one of them set to become the first woman chief Justice of India in the year 2027 for the duration of a little over a month.

The names of those three female judges are Karnataka High Court Judge Justice B.V. Nagarathna, Telangana High Court Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Bela Trivedi of Gujarat High Court. These three judges would be joining Justice Indira Banerjee in the Supreme Court. Justice B V Nagarathna is the daughter of former Chief Justice of India Justice E.S. Venkatramayah who served his tenure in 1989 which was also the year in which the first woman judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Fathima Beevi was appointed. B V Nagarathna is set to become the first women Chief Justice of the nation. Apart from these, the other 6 male judges appointed to the Supreme Court are Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath, Sikkim High Court Chief Justice J.K Maheshwari, Kerala High Court Justice C T Ravikumar, Madras High Court Justice M M Sundaresh and senior advocate P S Narsimha. After Justice B V Nagarathna, Senior advocate and former Additional Attorney General P S Narasimha would resume office as the Chief Justice of the nation. The current 48th Chief Justice of The Supreme Court is N.V. Ramana who will remain in the office till August 26, 2022.

LET’s DISCUSS THE LAW

Article 124(2) of the Constitution of India states that Every judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the president after consultation with such judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the states as the president may deem necessary and the judge shall hold the office for 65 years of age. In case of appointment of a judge other than the chief justice, the chief justice must always be consulted.

Article 124 (3) discusses the eligibility for appointment to the Supreme Court as a judge. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court unless he is a citizen of India and –

  1. Has been a judge of High Court or of two or more such courts in succession for atleast five years.

  2. Has been an advocate of a High Court or two or more such courts in succession for atleast 10 years.

  3. Is in the opinion of the President, a distinguished Jurist.

Article 124 (4) discusses the removal of the Judges clause. In Simpler words, for removal of the Judge, the charges of proved misbehaviour or incapacity have to be signed into a motion by a simple majority of the house in which the motion was introduced. If the motion passes, then a committee is constituted to investigate the matter. If the charges are proved to be true then the process of removal of the judge begins and the motion has to passed by both the houses again by a special majority and then approved by the president all in the same session.  

Article 217 of the constitution deals with appointments of judges to the High Courts of India. The same is done by the president. The maximum age limit for service as a High Court Judge is 62 years.

WOMEN IN JUDICIARY

Courts are one of the most evident and efficient drivers of social change who have the power to give gender sensitive solutions a legal backing. However, several of the justices of the Apex Court are old men moulded in their old school ways and are drivers of patriarchal notions in their judgements. While it is commendable that it is the supreme court which has reprimanded lower courts and asked them to “desist from commenting upon the dressing, behaviour, past conduct, morals or chastity of a women or suggest any “compromise formula” while deciding cases of sexual offences”, Supreme Court is not immune to such tendencies. A case in point is the remarks made by former Chief Justice S.A Bobde to a 23 year-old rape accused that whether he was willing to marry the Girl he raped when she was 16. “If you want to marry (her) we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail” were the exact words. 

CONCLUSION

India has a long storm to weather in her battle against gender inequality, gender violence, patriarchy and sexism however, the appointment of these women judges and chief justices to the Apex court can be considered green shoots down this road. Women Judges enable the nation to expect better outcomes, Gender and social justice and empowers the nation to view a case from the emphatic, sharp and intellectual eyes of a judge who also happens to be a woman. However, it would be incorrect and patriarchal to call them ‘women’ judges every time one addresses them. They are judges as efficient, smart, and embodiments of intellect as any other ‘man’ in the room.

Sources

The Hindu

https://www.thehindu.com/data/only-11-women-supreme-court-judges-in-71-years-three-of-them-appointed-in-2021/article36272407.ece

Jagran Josh

https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/what-is-the-procedure-to-remove-the-judge-of-the-supreme-court-1522935506-1

The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sc-gets-nine-judges-3-women-justice-nagarathna-first-woman-cji-in-2027-7472088/

Hindustan Times

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/patriarchal-justice-won-t-do-sc-lays-down-the-law-101616099547026.html

BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56263990 

 

Answers to our practice passage on Youtube

Q.1 Answer is D none of the above because Manas is a citizen of USA and the prerequisite to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court, the person must be a citizen of India.

Q.2 Answer is D none of the above as the procedure that has been omitted is that after the investigating committee proves the charges it has to be passed by both the houses of the parliament by a special majority irrespective of where the charges were first introduced. 

Q 3. Answer is A, Justice N V Ramana is the second chief justice of the nation from Andhra Pradesh, we’ve had justice K Subba Rao before him and that makes the two of them.

 

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