First, in history, 9 new judges, including three women, were sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court. With this, the strength of the Supreme court now increased to 33 in total. With three women judges sworn in, the Supreme Court has four sitting women judges and this is the highest ever in its history.
During the period of August 2018 to May 2020, there were three sitting women judges. Now history has been created and marked with four sitting women in the top court of India.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana administered the oath of office to the new judges in a swearing-in ceremony. The ceremony was held in the auditorium of the Supreme Court’s additional building complex.
The nine new judges are Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Justice Vikram Nath, Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice BV Nagarathna. Besides them, Justice CT Ravikumar, Justice MM Sundresh, Justice Bela M Trivedi, and Justice PS Narasimha, who was a senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General, were also administered the oath of office by the CJI.
Apart from this, another declaration is yet to announce- the possibility of a women Chief justice. Justice Nagarathna is in line to become the first woman CJI in September 2027.
The former judge of Delhi High court, Usha Mehra said that ” The news which thrills everyone is that one of the three sworn women will become the chief justice of India in 2027. These women have been elevated not because of seniority but because of their merits.”
It took almost four decades for the Supreme Court after its establishment to have its first woman judge. This was with the appointment of Justice Fatima Beevi in October 1980.
Justice Beevi was followed by Justices Sujata V Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Misra, Ranjana Prakash Desai, R Bhanumathi, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.
About the newly appointed women judges:
- Justice Hima Kohli
She is the former Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court, and the first woman judge to hold that office. Prior to that, she served as a Judge of the Delhi High Court. Justice Hima Kohli is known for her firm approach in enforcing executive accountability and defending women’s rights.
- Justice B V Nagarathna
She served as a judge of the Karnataka High Court from 2008 to 2021. Her Lordship is in the line to adorn the office of Chief Justice of India in the year 2027. She is the daughter of former Chief Justice of India, E.S Venkaataramiah.
She gained public attention in 2009 after being forcibly detained within the Karnataka High Court premises by a group of protesting lawyers. She has delivered a number of significant judgments relating to commercial and constitutional law in Karnataka.
- Justice Bela M Trivedi
The first woman judge from the Gujarat High Court to be appointed as the Supreme Court judge. She was elevated to the High Court as an additional judge on February 17, 2011. In June 2011, she was transferred as an additional judge of the Rajasthan High Court. She was transferred back to the Gujarat High Court in February 2016. During the period from 2003 to 2006, she served as the Law Secretary to the Gujarat Government.