The five judges appointed to the Supreme Court over the weekend, taking the number of judges to 32 against the sanctioned strength of 34, took oath on Monday. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud administered the oath of office to the five judges.
Those appointed are Justices Pankaj Mithal, Sanjay Karol, PV Sanjay Kumar, Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Manoj Misra.
All the five names for the judgeship in the top court were recommended by the six-member Supreme Court Collegium on December 13 last year. The Law Minister cleared the appointments on February 4.
The judges took oath in the backdrop of the collegium system becoming a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the centre, with the mechanism of judges appointing judges sparking an intense debate that, in a departure from tradition, has seen sharp comments by Law Minster Kiren Rijiju in recent times.
Mr Rijiju had recently described the Collegium system as being “alien” to the Indian Constitution, while Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar questioned the Supreme Court striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and a related constitution amendment Act in 2015.
Through the NJAC law, the government had sought to replace the Collegium system of appointing Supreme Court and High Court judges with a new method.