The Supreme Court collegium on Tuesday recommended the names of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar to the Union government for appointment as judges of the top court.

The development came even as the collegium’s five earlier recommendations for appointment to the Supreme Court are pending with the government.

The top court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges and there are currently seven vacancies.

The collegium, which is headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprises Justices SK Kaul, KM Joseph, MR Shah, Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna, said that its resolution with respect to the appointment of Justice Bindal was unanimous.

“However, in regard to the appointment of Mr Justice Aravind Kumar, Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat, Justice KM Joseph has expressed his reservations on the ground that his name can be considered at a later stage,” it said.

The resolution said that the judicial appointment body took into consideration the fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court is not adequately represented on the Supreme Court bench. Justice Bindal was initially appointed as a judge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The collegium said that it took into account seniority, merit, performance and integrity of the candidates who were under consideration. It said it also took into account the need to ensure the representation of persons from marginalised and backward segments of society, and the need to ensure gender diversity and representation of minorities.

The collegium stated that the five names it recommended on December 13 should have precedence over the two names recommended on Tuesday.

The five persons recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges include three chief justices of High Courts – Justice Pankaj Mithal (Rajasthan), Justice Sanjay Karol (Patna) and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar (Manipur). The other two are Patna High Court judge, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Manoj Misra.

In the past few months, the Collegium has been releasing more information in public about its rationale for recommending judges, names pending with the government and inputs of intelligence agencies on judicial appointments.

On January 24, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju said that the releasing of certain portions of sensitive reports of the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing was a “matter of grave concern”.

Traditionally, discussions that took place during collegium meetings were not recorded or released in any form, and only the names of the recommended candidates were released in the public domain.

The recommendations of the collegium on Tuesday came against the backdrop of the Supreme Court criticising the Centre for not acting swiftly on the recommendations.

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.

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.