In March, the Lok Sabha provided data regarding the appointment of high court judges since 2018. Out of the 575 judges appointed during this period, 67 belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, and 17 come from the Scheduled Caste (SC) category. This information highlights a shift towards greater diversity in the Indian higher judiciary.
New Judges Appointed for Madras and Manipur High Courts
The Union government recently announced the appointment of three judges to the high courts of Madras and Manipur. Notably, one of the appointees is a judicial officer who will become the first woman from a Scheduled Tribe to serve as a judge in the Manipur High Court. This marks a significant milestone for diversity and representation in the judiciary.
Historical Appointment in Manipur
Golmei Gaiphulshillu Kabui, a judicial officer, had been awaiting her appointment as a judge in the Manipur High Court since January 10. Her selection is a historic moment as she will be the first woman from a Scheduled Tribe to hold this position. This appointment underlines the importance of ensuring equal opportunities and representation for marginalized sections of society.
Diverse Appointments in Madras High Court
The other two judges appointed by the Centre will serve in the Madras High Court. These appointees are advocates N Senthilkumar and G Arul Murugan. The Supreme Court collegium, consisting of Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna, recommended their names in July.
Senthilkumar, with over 28 years of experience at the Bar, has a broad practice, including appearances before the Madras High Court and sessions court. He specializes in constitutional, criminal, service, and civil cases. Moreover, his appointment as a judge from the Scheduled Caste will contribute to better representation of marginalized communities.
Arul Murugan, with 24 years of experience at the Bar, specializes in civil, criminal, and writ cases. Notably, he belongs to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. His appointment as a judge will enhance OBC’s representation in the higher judiciary.
This batch of appointments is part of a group of nine recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium earlier in the year. Unfortunately, these recommendations had not been processed by the Centre, with the oldest recommendation pending since January.
These developments closely follow key Supreme Court hearings, led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who has been monitoring the Centre’s progress in processing the collegium’s proposals for appointing and transferring judges in constitutional courts.
On September 26, the Supreme Court expressed its frustration over delays and noted that nine names had been recommended for appointment as judges in various high courts, yet the government had not acted upon them. The court has taken up a contempt plea filed by the Advocate Association, Bengaluru, which highlights pending appointments and unexplained delays by the government.
A Call for Action
On October 9, the bench led by Justice Kaul cautioned the government, emphasizing that the collegium’s recommendations should not remain in limbo. Instead, the government must either promptly notify the appointments or provide specific objections to the proposed names. This signals a growing commitment to ensuring that the judiciary better reflects the diversity and inclusion of Indian society.