The Supreme Court collegium on Monday cleared names of justice R Subhash Reddy, justice Hemant Gupta, justice M R Shah, and justice Ajay Rastogi for elevation as Supreme Court judges.
According to two people familiar with the collegium proceedings, Gujarat high court chief justice Reddy, Madhya Pradesh high court chief Justice Gupta, Patna high court chief justice M R Shah, and Tripura high court chief justice Ajay Rastogi’s elevation was recommended unanimously.
The collegium is a body of the five top judges, which is responsible for all appointments to the top court. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi heads it and also includes justice MB Lokur, justice Kurien Joseph, justice A K Sikri and justice S A Bobde.
These appointments to the top court come as two vacancies were due by the year-end. The judges due to retire include justice Kurian Jospeh (November) and justice M B Lokur (December). Justice A K Sikri will retire in March next year. These retirements would have taken down the strength of the top court to 26 by year-end. But with the new appointments, the number of judges at the top court will rise to 28. The sanctioned strength of Supreme Court judges in 31.
Justice Reddy, who comes from a family of farmers in Telangana’s Medak district, began his career as an advocate. He was appointed as a high court judge in 2002. Justice Reddy continued as a Hyderabad high court judge until 2016. He had been Gujarat HC chief justice since then.
Justice Gupta was Punjab’s additional advocate general before being made a Punjab and Haryana high court judge in 2002. He was transferred to the Patna high court in 2016. Justice Gupta was made acting chief justice of the court until his appointment to the Madhya Pradesh high court on March 18, 2017.
Justice Shah practiced at the Gujarat high court before being elevated as its judge in 2004. He was in August appointed as Patna high court chief justice.
Justice Rastogi was appointed as a Rajasthan high court judge in 2004. He has presided over the Rajasthan high court as an acting chief justice. He was earlier in March made chief justice of the Tripura high court.
The last appointments of the SC judges were made in August when Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice K M Joseph were sworn in.