Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud administered oath of office to Justices Rajesh Bindal and Aravind Kumar as the new Supreme Court judges on Monday, reported PTI. The Supreme Court is not at its full strength of 34 judges.

On Friday, the Centre had notified the appointment of Bindal, the Allahabad High Court chief justice, and Kumar, the chief justice of Gujarat High Court, as judges of the Supreme Court.

On January 31, the Supreme Court Collegium in its recommendation had said that its resolution with respect to Bindal was unanimous. However, it said that Justice KM Joseph of the collegium had expressed reservations on the appointment of Kumar on the ground that his name could have been considered at a later stage.

The resolution had noted 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.

Bindal’s and Kumar’s elevation as Supreme Court judges came at a time when the judiciary and the executive branch of the country are in a tussle over appointments to the higher judiciary.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has in recent months repeatedly criticised the existing collegium system of appointments of judges, contending that it is opaque. Under the collegium system, five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, decide on the appointments and transfers of judges to the top court and the High Courts.

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.

On December 8, the Supreme Court had said that comments against the judiciary by government functionaries were not well taken.

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