|No consensus on filling three other vacancies in the apex court|
Justice P. Sathasivam
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court collegium has cleared the elevation of Justice P. Sathasivam of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as a Supreme Court judge. The total strength of judges in the Supreme Court is 26. The collegium of five seniormost judges including Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, which met for recommending names to fill four vacancies, could decide only on Justice Sathasivam, according to authoritative sources.
Though the names of Justice A. P. Shah, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice M. Karpagavinayagam, Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court, and Justice T. Meena Kumari, Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, were considered, there was no consensus.
At present, there is no woman judge in the Supreme Court.
Sources say the recommendation in favour of Justice Sathasivam has been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and from him the file will go to President Pratibha Patil. The appointment is expected within a fortnight.
The 58-year-old Mr. Justice Sathasivam, No. 2 judge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will on elevation have a tenure of about seven years in the Supreme Court. He is likely to be the Chief Justice of India for over a year from 2013 onward.
Mr. Justice Sathasivam, who was initially appointed a permanent judge of the Madras High Court in January 1996, was shifted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April this year. In the Supreme Court, he will represent Tamil Nadu after Justice A. R. Lakshmanan, who retired in March this year and who has since been appointed Chairman of the Law Commission.
Normally the Chief Justice of a High Court is considered for elevation to the Supreme Court.
However, in exceptional cases even the seniormost judges there are considered for appointment as Supreme Court judges.
The collegium has time and again made it clear that seniority is not the only criterion and other factors also go into its recommendations.
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