Following the row of questions about elevation of judges and justices, the government ordered elevation of two junior judged – Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court to the Supreme Court.
One of the sitting apex court judge, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had questioned the methods of appointments of legal fraternity to the Supreme Court and said that how the elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna will overlook the seniority factor. Many other members of the judicial fraternity including Justice Pradeep Nandrajog – who was initially chosen for elevation to the Supreme Court, had supported Justice Kaul’s call that the appointment of junior judges was unfair.
Ignoring the allegations over appointment in judicial hierarchy and the fact that Justice Khanna ranked 33rd on seniority list – the Collegium of Supreme Court led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi unanimously issued an order for appointment of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, along with Justice Sanjiv Khanna to the Supreme Court on January 16, Wednesday. Both the Justices are likely to swear-in for their new positions by the end of this week – as attested by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.
However, there are still speculations about the final decisions on Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon as some of the judiciaries claim that “the Collegium received some material against one of the judges that the names were changed and Justices Dinesh Maheswari and Sanjeev Khanna were recommended to the centre”. Moreover, there is still room for more Justices in the Supreme Court which is running with 26 judges as against the sanctioned strength of 31.