Three names on list for elevation to apex court

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The Supreme Court Collegium is considering the elevation of Justices Manjula Chellur, K M Joseph and Sanjay Kishan Kaul to the Supreme Court even as a sitting judge, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, is due to retire on July 22.
The retirement of Justice Kalifulla will increase the judicial vacancies in the Supreme Court to three. The sanctioned strength is 31.
Justice Joseph, as Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, led the Bench that quashed President’s rule in the State.
Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul’s recent judgment championed the freedom of expression and led to the ‘resurrection’ of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan.
Dr Manjula Chellur is the first woman Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. If Justice Chellur is appointed, she will be one of the two sitting Supreme Court judges along with Justice R. Banumathi.
In May, after a 15-month hiatus, the Supreme Court saw the appointment of four new judges.
They were Allahabad High Court Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar, Kerala High Court Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and a direct appointment of the then senior advocate L. Nageswara Rao from the Supreme Court Bar.
The active push to reach its sanctioned strength comes amid a brewing storm between the highest judiciary and the NDA government on the finer details of the draft memorandum of procedure for appointment of judges following a Constitution Bench’s decision in October 2015 to strike down the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) laws to replace the 22-year-old Collegium system.
The year also saw Chief Justice Thakur turn emotional in public over the “impossible burden” shouldered by a skeletal number of judges who work day in and day out to clear pendency. Four other Supreme Court judges are retiring in 2016. They are Justices V. Gopala Gowda and C. Nagappan in October, Justices Anil R. Dave and Shiva Kirti Singh in November.

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