Justices Hemant Gupta, R Subhash Reddy, M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi were sworn in as Supreme Court Judges today at 10:30 am in the Chief Justice’s Court, raising the total number of judges to 28, as against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges.

The Centre on Thursday accepted the collegium recommendation for the elevation of four Judges as SC judges. The President has issued a notification appointing Justices Hemant Gupta, R Subhash Reddy, M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi, who are the Chief Justices of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Patna and Tripura High Courts respectively, as Supreme Court judges.

On October 30, the Collegium comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice A K Sikri and Justice S A Bobde had recommended that judges are “are more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India”

The Collegium Resolution stated that it has taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, apart from their merit and integrity. The Collegium has also kept in mind, while recommending the above names that the High Courts of Punjab & Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan have remained unrepresented in the Supreme Court since long.

Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Justice M.R Shah, and Justice Ajay Rastogi stand at Sl. Nos.4, 5, 17 and 25 respectively in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis. The Collegium recommendation is to appoint them in the stated order of their seniority.

Justice Hemant Gupta took oath as the CJ of MP HC on March 18, 2017. Justice Gupta served as additional advocate general of Punjab from 1997 to 1999, and was made judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court — where he served the longest and was one of its most senior judges — on July 2, 2002

Justice Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy, who was the Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, was appointed Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on February 3, 2016. He was appointed as judge of High Court of AP on December 2, 2002.

Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah was appointed CJ of Patna HC on August 4, 2018. Justice Shah enrolled as an advocate in July 1982 and was appointed as judge of Gujarat High Court on March 7, 2004. LiveLaw

Justice Ajay Rastogi was recommended by the Collegium for being appointed as CJ of Tripura HC on February 1, 2018. He has been serving as a judge of Rajasthan High Court since September 2, 2004. He was the Acting Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court w.e.f. 14-04-2016 to 13-05-2016.

On the appointment of these four judges, the number of judges at the top court will rise to 28. The sanctioned strength of Supreme Court judges in 31, against which there are 24 judges holding office now. Two SC judges- Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Madan B Lokur- are set to retire this year, in November and December respectively.

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