The Indian judiciary has long faced the issue of high vacancies across all levels (the Supreme Court, High Courts, and subordinate courts). Many argue that the vacancy of judges in courts is one of the reasons for delays and a rising number of pending cases. As 2022 draws to a close, there already exist six vacancies in the Supreme Court of India out of the sanctioned strength of 34. In this backdrop, it is pertinent to note that the number of vacancies in the Supreme Court are only set to increase as nine judges of the Apex Court are to retire in 2023. Provided below is the list of judges who will retire in 2023.
1. Justice S Abdul Nazeer : 04-01-2023
Justice S Abdul Nazeer is set to retire on 4th January, 2023. He was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 17th February, 2017. Justice Nazeer was on the Constitution Bench which heard the batch of petitions challenging the decision taken by the Union Government six years ago to demonetise the currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 denominations.
2. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari: 14-05-2023
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who took oath as Judge, Supreme Court of India on 18th January, 2019 is set to retire on 14th May, 2023. Before being elevated to the Supreme Court, Justice Maheshwari was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya and later, the Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka. He delivered the majority opinion in the EWS Quota case and upheld the 103rd Constitution Amendment reservation by stating that reservations structured singularly on economic criteria do not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
3. Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah: 15-05-2023
Justice MR Shah is to retire on 15th May, 2023, just a day after Justice Dinesh Maheshwari's retirement. Justice Shah was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on November 2, 2018. Prior to this, he was the Chief Justice of Patna High Court. Justice Shah was on the bench of the Apex Court which suspended the Bombay High Court's order discharging former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba and five others in alleged Maoist links case.
4. Justice KM Joseph: 16-06-2023
Justice KM Joseph, who was elevated to Supreme Court on 7th August, 2018, is set to retire on 16th June, 2023. Justice Joseph headed the Constitution Bench which heard the batch of petitions seeking an independent system to appoint Election Commissioners and also pleas challenging constitutionality of laws permitting Jalikattu, Kambala and bull-cart race in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
5. Justice Ajay Rastogi: 17-06-2023
Justice Ajay Rastogi is set to retire the very next day after Justice Joseph, on 17th June, 2023. Justice Rastogi was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on 2nd November, 2018. Before this, he was the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court and later the acting chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court from 14th April, 2016 to 13th May, 2016. Justice Rastogi was on the bench that dismissed the review petition filed by Bilkis Bano seeking review of the May 2022 judgment which held that Gujarat Government had the jurisdiction to decide the remission applications of 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life for gangrape and murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
6. Justice V Ramasubramanian: 29-06-2023
The month of June marks three retirements in 2023 with Justice V Ramasubramanian retiring on 29th June 2023. Justice Ramasubramanian was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of India on September 23, 2019. Before this, he was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court on June 22, 2019. Justice Ramasubramanian was part of the Constitution Bench which heard the batch of petitions challenging the decision taken by the Union Government six years ago to demonetise the currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 denominations.
7. Justice Krishna Murari: 08-07-2023
Justice Krishna Murari, whose term as a Judge of Supreme Court of India commenced on 23rd September, 2019, will retire on 8th July, 2023. Before becoming a judge of Supreme Court, Justice Krishna Murari was the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh.
8. Justice S Ravindra Bhat: 20-10-2023
Justice Ravindra Bhat is due to retire on 20 October, 2023. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Rajasthan on 05 May, 2019 and elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 23 September 2019. Justice Bhat wrote a dissenting judgment to strike down the 103rd Constitution Amendment, which introduced 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in education and public employment.
9. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul: 25-12-2023
Justice SK Kaul, who was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 17th February, 2017 is set to retire on 25th December, 2023. He was previously the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. Justice Kaul was on the bench hearing a contempt petition filed by Advocates Association of Bangalore against Centre breaching the time line for judicial appointments. The bench led by him told the Central Government that the collegium system is the "law of the land" which should be "followed to the T".