The appointment of Justice Bindal, presently Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, has unanimous endorsement of the entire collegium; Justice K.M. Joseph of the Collegium has put on record a reservation against that of Justice Kumar, presently Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.
THE Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the names of the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Rajesh Bindal and the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Arvind Kumar, for their elevation as Supreme Court judges.
The resolution of the Collegium in regard to the appointment of Justice Bindal is unanimous. However, in relation to the appointment of Justice Kumar, Collegium member Justice K.M. Joseph expressed reservation on the ground that his name can be considered at a later stage.
The resolution to this effect has been signed off by Chief Justice of India Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Joseph, M.R. Shah, Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna.
The Collegium said that while recommending the names of Justices Bindal and Kumar, it took into consideration the seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne judges at their respective parent high courts as well as overall seniority of high court judges, and the merit, performance and integrity of the judges recommended to be appointed.
Besides, it said it wants to ensure diversity and inclusion in the Supreme Court by: (i) Representation of high courts which are not represented or are inadequately represented, in the Supreme Court; (ii) Appointing persons from marginalised and backward segments of society; (iii) Gender diversity; and (iv) Representation of minorities.
Justice Bindal was appointed as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 22, 2006. He was appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on October 11, 2021. He stands at serial number 2 in the combined All India-seniority among high court judges.
The Collegium said that while recommending his name, it took into consideration the fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which is one of the largest high courts with a sanctioned strength of eighty-five judges, is not adequately represented on the Bench of the Supreme Court.
Justice Kumar was appointed as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court on June 26, 2009 and as a permanent judge on December 7, 2012. He was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat on October 13, 2021. He stands at serial number 26 in the combined All India-seniority of high court judges.
The Collegium said that while recommending his name, it was conscious of the fact that in the seniority of judges hailing from the Karnataka High Court, Justice Kumar stands at serial number two and that at present, the Bench of the Supreme Court has representation from two judges from the Karnataka High Court.
The Collegium has made it clear that its earlier recommendation to appoint five judges to the Supreme Court shall have precedence over the two names recommended now for appointment to the Supreme Court. It, thus, said that the appointment of five judges recommended on December 13 last year should be notified separately and earlier in point of time before the two judges recommended by the present resolution.
On December 13 last year, the Collegium sent the names of Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, Justice Pankaj Mithal; Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Justice Sanjay Karol; Chief Justice of Manipur High Court, Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar; Patna High Court judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah; and Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Manoj Mishra, to the Union Government for their appointment as Supreme Court judges. However, the government is yet to notify their appointments.