SC back to its full strength of 34 as CJI administers

oath to two new judges

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday administered the oath of office to Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and K.V. Viswanathan, bringing back the court to its full sanctioned strength of 34 judges.

Justices Mishra and Viswanathan would replace Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and M.R. Shah, both of whom had retired earlier in May.

May 19 also saw the court bid farewell to Justices K.M. Joseph, Ajay Rastogi and V. Ramasubramanian, who are all retiring in June during the summer vacation. Friday was the last working day of the Supreme Court before it goes into recess until reopening on July 2.

Justices Mishra and Viswanathan were sworn in as judges in the presence of the full court in an auditorium filled with members of the Bar. The government had cleared their appointments in record speed. The Collegium had recommended them for appointment to the Supreme Court on May 16. The government’s notifications were published on May 18 and coincided with the first day in office of the new Law Minister, Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Justice Viswanathan would be in line to be the 58th Chief Justice of India in August 2030, succeeding Justice J.B. Pardiwala as top judge. He is also only the ninth lawyer to be elevated directly to the Supreme Court Bench.

Justice Mishra, who hails from Chhattisgarh, was the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court before his appointment to the Supreme Court.