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SC back to its full strength of 34 as CJI administers oath to two new judges

This article discusses the swearing-in of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and K.V. Viswanathan by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. Their appointments bring the Supreme Court back to its full strength of 34 judges, replacing Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and M.R. Shah who retired earlier in May.                                 (Source : The Hindu 20th May,2023)

full strength

What is the context?

The Supreme Court of India has regained its full strength of 34 judges as Chief Justice of India administered the oath of office to two new judges.

The Appointment of Justices Mishra and Viswanathan
  • The appointment of Justices Mishra and Viswanathan is a positive development for the Supreme Court. They are highly qualified and experienced judges. Justice Mishra previously served as the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, while Justice Viswanathan was a judge of the Madras High Court.
  • Their appointment brings the Supreme Court back to its full strength of 34 judges. This is significant as it will help reduce the backlog of cases and enhance the court’s efficiency in delivering justice.
  • The swift appointment of Justices Mishra and Viswanathan reflects the government’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary. Both judges are known for their progressive approach to law, and their appointment contributes to the promotion of the rule of law in India.
Strength of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India is the highest court in the country and has the ultimate authority to interpret the Constitution. It consists of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 34 judges. The number of judges is fixed by Parliament, but the Chief Justice can recommend additional judges to the President.

Composition and appointment
  • In 2019, the number of judges in the Supreme Court increased from 31 to 34. The Supreme Court originally had eight judges, including the Chief Justice. The President of India appoints judges to the Supreme Court. The President consults with judges of the Supreme Court and high courts to appoint the Chief Justice. The President consults with the Chief Justice and relevant judges to appoint other judges. Consulting the Chief Justice is obligatory for appointing judges other than the Chief Justice.
  • The appointment of judges involves the Chief Justice, the Collegium, and the President. The Collegium recommends judges to the President. The President appoints judges based on the Collegium’s advice.
  • The appointment of judges has been controversial, with debates about transparency and power distribution. Some argue the Collegium system is too secretive and gives excessive power to the Chief Justice. Others believe the Collegium system ensures merit-based appointments.
The Future of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is facing a number of challenges in the 21st century. These challenges include:

  • A growing backlog of cases
  • A lack of resources
  • Political interference

The Supreme Court will need to find ways to address these challenges in order to continue to fulfill its constitutional role.

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