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Collegium clears U’khand CJ’s elevation to top court

New Delhi, The Supreme Court Collegium is understood to have recommended the names of senior advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph for appointment as judges of the top court.
If and when the warrant of her appointment is issued, Malhotra will be the first woman advocate to be directly elevated from the Bar to the Bench as a Supreme Court Judge. The apex court has often been criticised for being a male bastion.
Justice Joseph had set aside the controversial imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. Earlier, the Collegium had recommended his transfer from the Uttarakhand High Court to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but his file remained pending with the government.
Sources said the decision to elevate Malhotra and Justice Joseph was unanimously taken by the five-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Other members of the Collegium are Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph.
At present, there are only 25 judges in the Supreme Court against a sanctioned strength of 31 judges. Seven judges, including CJI Misra, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph, are due to retire during 2018.
Currently, there is only one woman judge in the Supreme Court , Justice R Banumathi, the sixth woman to serve as a top court judge.
Justice M Fathima Beevi was the first woman to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court in 1989, followed by Justice Sujatha Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Banumathi.
Malhotra was the second woman lawyer to be designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court, almost three decades after Leila Seth, who went on to become the first woman judge of the Delhi HC. Sources said, Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High court will be the new Chief Justice of the HP High Court.
Justice Anirudh Bose of the Calcutta HC will be the new Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court while Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice TB Radhakrishnan has been transferred to the Andhra Pradesh HC. Justice Abhilasha Kumari of the Gujarat HC has been recommended for transfer as the new Manipur High Court Chief Justice, sources said.
The collegium confirmed Calcutta High Court’s acting Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya as Chief Justice. He is due to retire in September this year. Kerala High Court acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic has been made Chief Justice.