The Supreme Court collegium on Tuesday recommended five names to the Union government for elevation as top court judges, reported Bar and Bench.

Three of them are chief justices of High Courts – Justice Pankaj Mithal (Rajasthan), Justice Sanjay Karol (Patna) and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar (Manipur). The six-member collegium has also recommended elevating Patna High Court judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Manoj Misra.

If these recommendations are cleared by the Union government, the working strength of the Supreme Court will rise to 33.

The announcement about the elevation came against the backdrop of the Supreme Court criticising the Centre for not acting swiftly on the recommendations made by the collegium.

On November 11, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Union law secretary asking the Centre to explain the delay in the appointment of judges.

A bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had pulled up the Centre for the delay while hearing a contempt petition filed last year by the Advocates Association Bengaluru against the Union law ministry not approving 11 names given by the collegium.

The judges had noted that on several occasions the government did not make judicial appointments, despite the collegium reiterating them. The court had questioned whether the government’s inaction was meant to compel those considered for the judges’ posts to withdraw their consent.

It had said that after a collegium reiterates the names for the second time, the Centre has to issue an appointment order.