16 May 2023 3:57 PM GMT
While making its recent recommendation for Supreme Court judgeship, the top court’s collegium – headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud – has skipped over the Allahabad High Court’s chief justice, Pritinker Diwaker, who is ahead of the top court’s nominee, Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, in terms of seniority. Both judges were originally appointed to the Chhattisgarh...
While making its recent recommendation for Supreme Court judgeship, the top court’s collegium – headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud – has skipped over the Allahabad High Court’s chief justice, Pritinker Diwaker, who is ahead of the top court’s nominee, Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, in terms of seniority. Both judges were originally appointed to the Chhattisgarh High Court.
The top court said:
“There is no representation to the High Court of Chhattisgarh in the present composition of the Supreme Court of India…The Collegium is conscious of the fact that the present Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court is drawn from the parent High Court of Chhattisgarh and ranks senior to Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra. However, having considered all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the view that Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra is worthy of appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.”
No further elaboration is provided. However, the resolution reveals that the factors that weighed with the collegium while making its selection were the seniority of chief justices and senior puisne judges within their parent high courts as well as overall seniority of high court judges, and the merit, performance, and integrity of the judges under consideration. Besides this, another crucial factor in making this determination was the need to ensure diversity and inclusion in the apex court. This would be ensured by the representation of unrepresented or underrepresented high courts, the appointment of persons from marginalised and backward segments of society, gender diversity, and the representation of minorities.
A collegium comprising Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, and Sanjiv Khanna announced its decision on Tuesday. Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra has served as a high court judge for over thirteen years and ranks at serial number 21 in the all-India seniority list of judges of high courts, the resolution discloses.
“During his tenure of nearly twelve years as a judge of the High Court of Chhattisgarh, Justice Mishra has acquired significant experience in diverse fields of law. His judgments cover wide-ranging issues pertaining to law and justice,” the collegium has highlighted, before adding that not only would the appointment of Justice Mishra accord representation to the State of Chhattisgarh, but will also “provide a value addition in terms of his acquired knowledge and experience”. “Justice Mishra is a judge with integrity,” the collegium also said. It concluded:
“After carefully evaluating the merit, integrity and competence of eligible chief justices and senior puisne judges of the high courts and also accommodating a plurality of considerations, the Collegium finds Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, Chief Justice, Andhra Pradesh High Court (PHC: Chhattisgarh) to be more deserving and suitable in all respects for being appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of India.”
Apart from Justice Mishra, the top court has also recommended the name of Senior Advocate KV Viswanathan hoping to fill the recent vacancies. With the retirements of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari last week (Sunday, May 12) and Justice MR Shah yesterday (Monday, May 15), the current strength of the Supreme Court has fallen to 32 against a sanctioned strength of 34. This includes the chief justice and 33 puisne judges. In the coming months, four more judges are set to retire, creating additional vacancies.
Read the notification here.